A CHARITY helping young people in Worcestershire find jobs has been given a £1.5 million boost.

The Shaw Trust has been awarded a portion of a £108 million pot of funding as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Talent Match initiative.

The scheme will offer support to people in the county aged 18 to 24 – particularly those who are at risk of social inclusion, have learning difficulties or are at risk of offending – who have been unemployed or out of education for at least 12 months.

The Shaw Trust is working alongside major Worcestershire employers including Malvern-based Morgan Motor Company and engineering firm Dytecna as well as youth organisations such as the YMCA and Hope Unlimited to help give young people the skills they need to succeed in the world of work.

Nineteen-year-old Ben from Worcester has previously benefited from the Talent Match programme.

“I moved into emergency accommodation last year as a result of family breakdown,” he said.

“It was a difficult time for me as I had been made homeless before and this resulted in a suicide attempt.

“I was asked to take part in the Talent Match project and was really excited to be involved.

“It has really boosted my confidence and I am now applying for an apprenticeship and have even been nominated for a local award for young people.

“My future feels much brighter and I hope this Talent Match funding will mean a brighter future for many more young people.”

Voluntary sector lobbyist the ACEVO Commission on Youth Unemployment has estimated that youth unemployment will cost the economy £28 billion over the next decade.

The Shaw Trust’s head of learning and skills Michelle Bellamy said the organisation was “delighted” to have been awarded the funding.

“As a charity with a history of working in the Worcestershire area, we have a strong track record in helping local people facing disadvantage to get into work, gain skills and take control of their futures,” she said.

Chairman of the Big Lottery Fund for England Nat Sloane welcomed the announcement.

“Youth unemployment is an issue that threatens the hopes of an entire generation as well as our whole economic wellbeing,” she said.

“Talent Match promises to help the very hardest to reach young people to make the most of their skills and ambitions, not just as an end goal, but by giving them a say in how the programme itself is designed and put into practice.”

For more information on the Talent Match scheme visit biglotteryfund.org.uk/talentmatch