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Young unemployed people in Birmingham get ‘work ready’ with BT


A group of young people in Birmingham have learned vital digital skills and coaching to land jobs, as part of a BT scheme that has already helped more than 3,200 unemployed young adults.

A celebration event was held on Friday, 31 January, at Fazeley Studios, to mark the graduation of 30 people who took part in a 10-day BT Work Ready Programme.

Jose Lopes, head of business engagement at the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), attended to present certificates to the graduates. The participants, all aged between 18 and 24, have received training and work experience with BT to help them in their future careers.

BT’s Work Ready programme, in partnership with charity Movement to Work (MtW), is helping thousands of young people not in education, employment or training across the UK. The programme equips them with vital skills and work experience for a career in an increasingly digital world.

Ricky Ricketts, director for local government, health and education at BT, said: “Our Work Ready programme is designed to boost young peoples’ opportunities by inspiring them into a career in the digital workforce – offering employability skills, digital skills and work experience. The programme helps young people acquire the hard and soft skills needed by employers and provides support to get into work through coaching and job networking opportunities.

“The programme is well established with over 3,200 young people graduating since 2014. Over 56% of those completing the course have gone on to get a job, an apprenticeship or moved into further education.”

Jose Lopes, head of business engagement at WMCA, said: “I’d like to congratulate the young people for successfully graduating after their work placements.

“It’s critical that we tackle youth unemployment, and with the help of employers like BT, and through our work with programmes such as Movement to Work, we are giving young people digital and team skills, helping remove the barriers they may encounter to start an exciting new career.”

The work placements are part of a national pilot of the Government-led Transition to Work project, also involving the WMCA, which aims to support unemployed young people into work.

Youth unemployment remains a persistent and stubborn challenge in the UK. The national youth unemployment rate was 11.3 per cent in September - November 2019, compared with 3.8% for the whole population.

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