Nat Sloane, England chair of the Big Lottery Fund, says Talent Match can have a huge impact on 18 to 24-year-olds who have trouble finding work.

The Big Lottery Fund has announced that over the next five years it will give out £100m of funding to partnerships in 21 areas of England that will tackle youth unemployment.  The BLF said today that it would be inviting organisations in selected areas, chosen because they have high levels of unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds, to develop partnerships that will submit bids for funding from the scheme.  The initiative is called Talent Match.

Grants will range from between £1m and £10m and there can be only one partnership per area.

The schemes will need to demonstrate that they will achieve outcomes such as improving access to better quality local employment and training and developing confidence and optimism in young people who have been unemplyed for more than a year.

The BLF has been asking a group of 20 young people to help it to draw up proposals for the scheme.  They will also be involved in co-charing meetings with local stakeholders over the next few weeks to help kick-start partnerships.

A BLF spokesman said it wanted the partnership to be led by voluntary and community sector organisations.  They are expected to include local stakeholders including councils, colleges and employers.

He said that up to £10,000 of development funding would be made available in each area and the first funding awards were expected to be announced in February.

Nat Sloane, England chair of the BLF, said the scheme was one of the most ambitious programmes the fund had undertaken.

"With the help of our young advisers, Talent Match can have a huge impact on the youth unemployment problem threatening to consign a generation of people to the career scrapheap.

"I am positive that Talent Match, and what we learn from it, will provide the evidence the country needs to help many more young people more effectively in the future."

Areas included in the scheme include:  Greater Manchester; Leeds; Coventry and Warwickshire; and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.




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