Walsall Labour slam Conservative apprenticeship scheme

Walsall council’s flagship policy to help 550 young unemployed people find work has found apprenticeships for only 58 youngsters in its first year of operation, claim local Labour members.

The two year “Walsall Works” programme was launched with national publicity last year promising it would crack youth unemployment in the borough and formed a major element of Conservative promises during the May elections.

But despite over 1000 young people registering their interest in the scheme, the council has found work places for only 58, according to figures uncovered by Walsall Labour party.

Announcing the scheme last January Conservative Councillor Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council cabinet member for regeneration, said:  “We’re hugely proud of the Walsall Works project….. We calculate we can help up to 225 young people aged 16 to 18 and a further 50 19 to 24-year-olds per year. …That’s something to be proud of.”

However, figures uncovered by Labour councillor for Darlaston South, Doug James, show that since it was announced 1029 young people have signed up for the scheme but only 58 have been found work placements.

Cllr James said: “When this scheme was announced by the Conservative run council I, like my Labour colleagues, welcomed it, not least because youth unemployment in my ward alone was running above 30 percent.

“But a year on and the Conservatives have failed to deliver on the promise they made to young people. Hundreds of youngsters who registered their interest in this scheme have had their hopes of finding a job cruelly dashed.

There is no way this Conservative/Lib Dem council now deliver those 550 jobs. It’s something it should be ashamed of.”

Cllr James had hoped to reveal the figures at the recent council meeting where Conservative cabinet members awarded themselves £55,000 pay rise but was stopped from doing so.

He added “This council has failed young people at every level; from early education to at risk youngsters in council care. It can’t be allowed to fail them yet again. So therefore, I have written to the council’s chief executive asking for an explanation of this appalling state of affairs and asking how we can salvage the scheme so at least some of the young people who pinned their hopes of finding a job on it, are helped.”


4 thoughts on “Walsall Labour slam Conservative apprenticeship scheme

  1. If youth unemployment is such a concern for the Labour Councillor, I presume he he took it upon himself to push and promote this apprenticeship scheme and do everything possible to help it succeed,? Issues such as youth unemployment are not the responsibility of one party to tackle – it needs a united approach. The failure or success of this scheme should be the concern of every councillor in the borough regardless of party.

  2. I believe Labour abstained from the vote on the Walsall works programme.  Cllr JAmes says that is supporting it.  Labour abstained from the vote on councillor pay rises.  The Walsall Labour party say that they were opposing it.

    Perhaps the Walsall Labour party should vote for something when they support it and voting against something when they oppose it,.

  3. Bob Yes labour did support the scheme . Lucy, Doug James has worked hard to support the scheme, not least because his on ward suffers so badly from youth unemployment It’s the job of an opposition to hold to account the parties in control. Thanks to Doug’s work, the deputy leader of the council promised on Radio WM today that theauthority would find apprenticeships for 750 young people, 200 more than the original target, in 12 months. Walsall Labour welcomes that and will continue working with the council to acheive the goal and looks forard to seeing how those plans will be implemented but we also continue to hold the Tories to account.

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