Council’s £2m plan for the unemployed

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DESPITE announcing more than £18m of savings in their latest budget, Wigan Council is investing £2m to help people find employment.

Leader, Lord Peter Smith, announced the package at the latest meeting of the full council, which will provide a timely boost for youngsters in the borough at the start of Apprentice Week.

The combined schemes – aimed at long-term jobseekers and young people – will be funded by the local authority’s reserves, with council chiefs warning that the recurring cost of not helping people into work would be even higher.

Lord Smith, said: “At a time when local government funds are being stretched to their limit, we will do our best to make sure everyone from this borough who wants to earn a living has a fighting chance to flourish.

“High numbers of people aged 25 and over are struggling to get work and this is an increasing problem.

“It’s vital for the economy and for the well-being of individuals in this age group that we give them the support they deserve, they are often made to feel like a forgotten statistic.

“It also helps to reduce the number of people reliant on the state for support.”

Part of the funds will be spent on a support team, tasked with helping people aged between 25 to 50 to find jobs.

And at least 20 apprentices will be taken on to build on the council’s current apprenticeship scheme which has seen 20 young people secure positions at the town hall.

While around £1m will be spent to give 30 people jobs at a new super depot and its catering service, Metrofresh.

l As part of our series about Apprentice Week, see tomorrow’s Evening Post for interviews with Carol Halford, Wigan Council’s head of service for employment and learning skills, and the current batch of council apprentices.