The Headstart programme began in early 2014 and ended in March 2016. It provided flexible, local and work-focused support for 18-24 year olds that had been in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance for between six and nine months.
1600 young people have been supported by the programme.
1. It helped the economy
Headstart’s impact was worth £13.6million and it had a net social value of almost £9million on the national economy. This is almost double the initial investment of £4.6million.
The Headstart programme was funded by the Cabinet Office. It is part of a package of support that aims to tackle youth unemployment and create a ‘NEET-free’ (not in employment, education or training) City Region.
2. It reducing unemployment
In 2012, 28,500 young people in the City Region were claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance. Now there are only 8,890 young people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance. This is as a result of growth in the regional economy, and local programmes like Headstart,
Stephanie Burras, Chief Executive of the Ahead Partnership and Chair of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Panel, said:
“We are delighted that our Headstart programme has helped over 1,600 young people gain work experience and move into sustained work or further training.
“Headstart, alongside our other youth unemployment schemes, such as our Devolved Youth Contract and Apprenticeship Programme, have made a real difference to youth unemployment in our region – demonstrated by the fact that the number of young people now claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance has reduced by two-thirds compared to four years ago.
“These programmes have helped significant numbers of young people in our region to get on, bringing us much closer to our ambition of becoming a NEET-free City Region.”
3. It turned lives around
Headstart programme offered tailored support for individuals, including training and a guaranteed interview with a local employer. This was followed by up to six months of in-work support. One young person from Kirklees to benefit from this support was Charlotte. Charlotte started on the Kirklees Headstart programme when she was 20 years old after being unemployed on and off for around three years.
“After being unemployed for almost three years I had pretty much lost all confidence in myself, but Headstart has really helped me to see that I do have skills and things to offer an employer.
“After training I was paired with a job at the Denby Dale Centre working with elderly people. Everyone at the Denby Dale Centre has been really supportive and made me feel like a part of the team from day one, so I didn’t really need much in-work support, however it was reassuring to know that Mel, my in-work support officer, was at the end of the phone if I needed help with anything.
“All in all, Headstart has really helped me turn my life around. My six month Headstart contract has recently ended at the Denby Dale Centre but I’m happy to report that they have decided to keep me on and are looking at giving me a three year contract.”
More about Headstart
You can hear some of these young people talking about their experience of Headstart, and the difference it has made to their lives in the LEP’s film
Any business that would like to know more about the scheme should call 01484 221000 and ask for ‘Heastart’.