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Young people in Portsmouth can get free help to find a job from a new service that launched today.

The My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub is a one-stop shop for local 16-24 years olds who are looking for work. Run by Portsmouth City Council, the service is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

From today eligible jobseekers can meet with employment advisers, careers advisers and specialist work coaches who will be offering virtual, face to face and group sessions. The youth hub will also be working with employers across the city to create opportunities such as work experience and paid apprenticeships for residents to access.

As well as help with CV writing, job searching, writing job applications and interview preparation, the team will also offer a joined up introduction to existing services in the city, offering advice and practical help with everything from confidence building and skills development, to health and wellbeing, housing, debt management and access to benefits.

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development and Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council Cllr Steve Pitt said: “This scheme is for anyone aged 16 – 24 that’s looking for work, including anyone that’s lost their job as a result of the pandemic. You might also be a college or university graduate looking to update your CV and brush up your interview skills, or a school leaver looking for your first role in a competitive market. Across the country Covid has had a big effect on young people’s jobs, whether it has stopped people from getting their first role, or meant that they’ve lost their job due to staff cuts. This is a really positive step towards solving that problem.”

Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education Cllr Suzy Horton said: “We’re so excited to offer this service to the young people of Portsmouth, and look forward to hearing about the success stories we know it will create. In Portsmouth our youth unemployment rate is lower than the national average at 5.1 per cent, and we are committed to keeping it that way by investing in the future of our city and making sure Portsmouth remains a vibrant and creative city with opportunities for all.”

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies said: “The new ‘My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub’, set up in partnership between Portsmouth City Council and DWP, will ensure that local young jobseekers have the key support nearby, they need to find employment and access important training opportunities in a range of settings, whether that’s virtually or with face-to-face assistance.

“This is a challenging time for many young people but with our Plan for Jobs creating new opportunities, boosting skills, and supporting young people back into work and progress, we’re ready to push to build back better”.

Sarah Carhart, District Service Leader, Department for Work and Pensions said:

“Through the joint effort of the Department for Work and Pensions and Portsmouth City Council, the launch of the ‘My Future in Portsmouth’ Youth Hub, represents a significant step forward in transforming the lives of local young people.

“Our teams are ready, experienced and excited to be supporting our young people through the new Hub. By providing effective, targeted and tailored support to Portsmouth’s young people, it will secure a sustainable future for many of them, and their families, who have been affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.”

The scheme is in partnership with the Kickstart scheme, which provides much-needed financial incentives to businesses that offer employment to 16 to 24 year olds, who are currently receiving Universal Credit. The government’s initiative aims to not only support fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales but will also improve the skills, employability and resilience of young people.

If you’re interested in taking the next step towards your future, you can ask your jobcentre coach for a referral or email myfutureinportsmouth@portsmouthcc.gov.uk