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Why the West Midlands Mayor is recruiting 1,000 successful people

He wants volunteers from business and industry to help the battle against youth unemployment

The search is on to find 1,000 Mayor’s Mentors to help guide young people into worthwhile careers and out of unemployment.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is looking for people who have been successful in their careers - across all jobs, professions and industries - to offer guidance or a hand up to those who are struggling to get started in life or looking for a new direction,

It is a key part of his pledge to wipe out youth unemployment in the West Midlands by the time his term of office ends in 2020. There are currently 13,645 people aged 18-24 claiming unemployment benefits in the region.

Mr Street, the former John Lewis chief, said: “In my manifesto, I made eradicating youth unemployment in the West Midlands a clear priority. Quite simply, I am determined that by the end of my first three years we will have a youth unemployment rate of zero.

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This is a policy I believe is achievable and we have seen huge progress in reducing youth unemployment over the last four years as we have begun to enjoy economic success.

“However, I am conscious not everybody in the region is sharing in this success. The Mayor’s Mentors programme is the first step on the way to tackling this issue.

“One thing I have learned in my career is the value of having a mentor – it’s helped me take important decisions in work and in life.”

Birmingham Mail
Andy Street

The scheme is due to be launched on Friday and people will be able to sign up via a new website.

Mr Street said: “The Mayor’s Mentors will be people who have been successful in their careers, across a range of industries, who can give a hand up for young people just starting out, or those who wish to retrain or move into new work. The only criteria is the will to help and a sense that you have something to offer.

“I hear every day, people in the business community saying they want to play their part in the ongoing success of the region. Mayor’s Mentors is a great opportunity to do just that.”

In his previous role as chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Mr Street launched a workplace coaches schem e which helped 15,000 young people starting out on their careers. Earlier this year the Government provided £12 million to roll the scheme out further across the region.

Last year Birmingham City Council was awarded £50 million for the EU-funded Youth Employment Initiative to pay for training, apprenticeships and support employers providing work for under 25s over two years.

Friday update: The mayor has launched his website www.wmca.org.uk/mayorsmentors

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