A HOUSING group has unveiled 30 new paid work placement opportunities for young people.

The placements were created by the Burnley-based Calico Group, which operates across the county, as part of the government's Kickstart programme which is designed to give employment opportunities to 16-24 year olds who are currently claiming universal credit.

The group have created new roles for the programme at their residential care home Barley View, within their homelessness and housing service Gateway and within their construction company Ring Stones.

Calico head of social enterprise Sam Howarth said: "It’s important to us a company to make a real difference to people’s lives, and we feel we are doing that by creating these positions.

"With youth employment opportunities in decline as a result of the pandemic, we feel we can help by enabling younger people in the region to get into work and hopefully gain experience that will also help their long term future."

Provision has been made so that all of the young people involved will have a dedicated Employment Coach supporting them throughout the process, offering guidance whilst working through a plan to increase their employability prospects.

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The new placements are part of a pledge made by the group, a not-for-profit organisation which works to provide domestic abuse, homelessness and addiction support, housing, healthcare and employability services, to create 120 opportunities for younger people whose employment prospects have been impacted as a result of the pandemic.

Young people have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with many finding themselves at the centre of a jobs crisis.

A young person to have felt the benefit of this pledge is Lewis Ferrel, who has now been inducted into his new position as a project administrator for the group's Constructing the Future shared apprenticeship programme.

He said: "I was incredibly anxious about joining a workplace before Calico, it’s a very friendly place and they’ve helped to make me feel welcome and comfortable.

"I’m very grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me, to gain valuable experience while helping to make other people’s lives better.”

To find out more, go to: www.calicoenterprise.org.uk.