With youth unemployment running at just under one million, and 1,500 Islington residents aged 18-24 on job seekers’ allowance, Islington’s Labour council are taking action on jobs and apprenticeships. In Caledonian ward, in particular, there is: the King’s Cross Construction Centre to support local young people into apprenticeships in construction on the King’s Cross Central site; a pre-apprenticeship scheme running to help young people into jobs in painting and decorating; and an apprenticeship programme in bicycle maintenance providing employment and training for young people.

The council’s youth employment strategy, passed by Council in February 2012, set out that by 2015 all young people aged 16 to 18 in Islington would be in education, employment or training, and we would seek to reduce youth unemployment to below 1000 for those aged 19-24. In Caledonian, we’ve taken a big step towards that, with support from the Council, as well as a range of charitable, business and public sector partners.

During National Apprenticeship Week (11th-15th March), we will officially launch K&M McLoughlin’s painting and decorating academy on Brewery Road in Caledonian. This five week voluntary programme sees young people aged 16-24 learn the basics of painting and decorating in work conditions. The programme is a partnership of K&M McLoughlin Ltd, Islington Council and City and Islington College, and has so far supported over twenty young people into employment or apprenticeships. The partnership of an employer, the local college and the council, mean young people can be effectively supported into the programme, receive excellent training, and be ready for a work or an apprenticeship when the programme is finished.

On the Bemerton estate in Caledonian, Get More Bikes will this week open their bicycle maintenance workshop -; a social enterprise delivering bicycle maintenance and cycle safety training, delivered by apprentices supported by experienced staff. This programme aims to employ young people from across Islington, but particularly those living on the Bemerton, as apprentices in bicycle maintenance, while serving the public and cyclists travelling across London. This will all happen from what used to be empty garages on the Bemerton, and is supported by the Council and the Bemerton Villages Management Organisation (BVMO), and run by the social enterprise Get More.

In Caledonian, we also have the King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre on York Way, which is run through a partnership of Camden and Islington Councils and Carillion. So far, seventy Islington residents have benefited from the training programme, which includes apprenticeships and more specialist training. The Team Cally ward partnership also manages a job brokerage scheme, the BIG Alliance, supported by Islington Giving, Macquarie and Argent, and run by the East London Business Alliance (ELBA). This programme supports Islington residents into employment by working in partnership with large firms to develop training and work placements which lead directly to jobs. The programme runs for two years, and already has some notable successes with large employers in the City of London and on the King’s Cross Central site.

For National Apprenticeship Week and beyond, in Islington, and particularly Caledonian, we are making sure that youth unemployment is tackled, jobs and training sought, so that each Islington young person can find the education, training or employment that suits them.

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