Young people have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, whether that’s through disruption to schools and colleges, job redundancies or the high number of young people working in sectors that have been forced to close.

The Youth Employment Fund, commissioned by The Prince’s Trust and supported by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), has a focus on increasing targeted employability initiatives for unemployed 16 – 25 year olds in the region. The projects delivered through the fund will address some of the key themes and issues that have been highlighted by young people, through The Youth Task Force, which was set up by the Mayor of Greater Manchester in June 2020.

The recommendations from the Task Force formed the Young Person’s Guarantee and aim to support young people around four core themes; keeping connected, staying well, making effective transitions and reducing economic inequalities.

Three projects have been successful in gaining funding for this work, and throughout 2021, innovative projects run by Groundwork Greater Manchester, City in the Community and Sharks Community Trust will be making an impact across the region.

Whilst directly addressing the four themes, projects delivered through the Youth Employment Fund will support almost 300 young people to move into jobs and apprenticeships in sectors where there is increased demand for jobs.

Diane Modahl MBE, Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force, said: “It is fantastic news funding has been awarded to these important projects to help young people in Greater Manchester find employment.

“When forming the Young Person’s Guarantee concerns were raised by Youth Task Force members over the increased chances of young people experiencing longer-term job market inequalities due to the consequences of the pandemic.

“Recent results from our Life Readiness survey found one in four Year 10 students struggled to effectively learn from home, including a large proportion of black males. This is just one example of how the pandemic and lack of digital connectivity has had an impact on young people’s ability to further their careers. Therefore, additional support for unemployed young people to make effective transitions into jobs or education is absolutely vital during these difficult times.”

GMCA Employment, Skills and Digital Lead, Councillor Sean Fielding said: “It has been a tough year for young people in our city-region who have experienced a lot of uncertainty over their futures following the pandemic.

“I am pleased these three inspiring projects will help support young people across Greater Manchester to make the transition into jobs and apprenticeships where there is currently an increased demand.”

Andrew Ridge, Deputy Director for the North at The Prince’s Trust said: “Many young people haven’t been able to access the training, education and jobs they’ve needed this past year, so The Youth Employment Fund’s support comes at a vital time. In these anxious and uncertain times where the job landscape has shifted so drastically, we know unemployed young people in Greater Manchester need us more than ever, and we are proud to support them into sustainable employment.”

If you are an employer and would like to find out more about how you can support these projects, or a young person who would like to take part, visit our Youth Employment Fund page to find out more and contact the delivery organisations directly via email.