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Skills programme launched to help young people get ready for the workplace

Luton continues with its ambitious plans to transform the town with the launch of its new skills programme for young people.

The 16 x16 project forms part of the £1.3 million Luton Investment Framework (LIF) Skills and Opportunities programme. It is a three year plan to strengthen the links between education and employment and help prepare students for the workplace. The Council, together with schools, further and higher education partners, learning providers and employers have developed the programme aimed at 14-16 year olds and a pilot has been launched with eight Luton schools, with a planned roll out to all schools from September 2018.

The programme provides a way for young people to develop personal, learning and thinking skills and offers them the chance to display the attributes that employers feel are needed in the workplace, education and training. They will develop evidence of their achievements and meet certain criteria by completing 16 activities related to communications, leadership and teamwork, professional conduct and motivation, skills as well as contribution to the community and enterprise.

Once they have taken part in the scheme students will have a clearer understanding of the world of work, the options and pathways available to them, have improved employability skills and be more confident and self-aware. Achieving the 16×16 certificate will be recognised by employers who will offer benefits to the young people such as guaranteed work experience or interviews.

Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Borough Council, said:

“We are really excited to launch this new skills programme aimed at the young people of Luton. Over the coming years there will be in excess of 18,500 new jobs in Luton as part of our £1.5 billion inward investment programme to transform the town and working with our partners we are focussed on supporting them to secure these roles. This is all part of our aim to create increased opportunities, and enhance prosperity across the town.

“We want to raise young people’s aspirations and help support them to reach their full potential whilst ensuring that they are prepared for the world of work. The Skills 16×16 project will help achieve this”.

Chris Nicholls, Principal, Luton Sixth Form College said:

“This exciting and innovative project will provide a vital link between the exceptional new employment opportunities that will be available in Luton and the young people currently in Luton schools. By developing their skills and experiences the project will enable them to take advantage of the new opportunities. It is about helping to ensure that Luton jobs go to Luton people”.

Andy Smyth, Early Talent & Apprenticeships Manager, HR – People Development, TUI said:

“TUI UK and Ireland is a major employer in Luton with our UK and Ireland Head Office, Aviation Engineering Hangar and Retail shops in the area. We’re very happy to support the 16 x 16 project. We’ve been employing apprentices and young people for over 30 years and we know that this programme will provide the students who participate in it with a real advantage. It’s clear from all of the evidence that there are many factors that contribute to success in later life and we’re determined to do our bit to help the young people of today equip themselves with the skills to be as successful as possible in the future. Our schools, colleges and universities go a certain way towards giving youngsters the knowledge that they will need to prosper in society but there are other skills needed to be successful at work. These aren’t so easily taught in a class room setting and programmes like 16×16 give them the opportunity to learn through experience.

“Getting the right set of ‘employability skills’ in place really does make a difference as increasingly employers are looking as much at the person as the certificates they hold. Hopefully this new 16 x 16 certificate will become one that employers in the Luton area get used to looking for. With the right skills, knowledge, behaviours and experiences in place young people will be able to impress employers and increase their opportunities to continue the development and training at work, hopefully though an apprenticeship. Getting that first job is such a big milestone and huge achievement but many of us have forgotten just how daunting it is. TUI UK and Ireland will be working with the project team to look at how we can maximise our input and I hope that other employers will do the same”.

For more details on the 16×16 skills programme please visit our website www.luton.gov.uk/16×16
For more details on the LIF please visit our website www.luton.gov.uk/LIF