Vital jobs project is now axed

Carl Green, who found employment through the Future Jobs Fund

Carl Green, who found employment through the Future Jobs Fund

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A SCHEME which has found more than 700 jobs for young adults in Wigan is to be axed.

The government’s Future Jobs Fund (FJF) was set up to help young people aged 18-24 who were claiming Job Seekers Allowance gain real work experience and also helped a number of long-term unemployed residents, of all ages, who claim out of work benefits get back on the employment ladder.

But due to government cuts, the scheme, which began in Wigan in January 2010, will end on March 31, meaning there will be less support for the unemployed.

The scheme, which involved Wigan Council working with Jobcentre Plus and key partners such as Inspire 2 Independence, Groundwork, Arena Housing and Lancashire Wildlife Trust, created and filled 745 jobs in the borough.

And across Greater Manchester, the FJF has created 8,000 jobs,

The scheme has provided a vital lifeline for the unemployed, including Carl Green, 21, of Wigan, a qualified bricklayer, who was finding it hard to find work in the construction industry.

Through the FJF, he found employment as an operations assistant at the stadium at Leigh Sports Village and was able to broaden his skills.

He said: “I am glad that I got the Future Jobs Fund position here and I’m enjoying it. I have learned a lot, electrics, plumbing, joinery and other skills that I know have helped me to gain my new job.”

Each FJF employee was given support and training to improve their future employment prospects and many have since gone onto further their careers with other employers.

Lord Peter Smith, council leader and chair of AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester), said: “In Wigan we certainly have delivered well on this scheme. I want to congratulate each of the young people who has got a job through Future Jobs Fund.

“I would also like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create the 745 opportunities we were able to offer.

“Today, in a new and more challenging funding climate and with FJF now closed, it is vital that we redouble our efforts to find new ways of reconnecting people with jobs.”

Mike Emmerich, chief executive of New Economy said: “The 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester and our partners have worked hard to deliver the largest programme in the country. The FJF provided a first step in what I hope will be a successful future career for thousands of young people.”