Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone Heralds Careers Fair Success

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Mims Davies MP, was the guest of honour at Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone’s Careers Fair on Thursday 29th February 2024.

The event was attended by 189 enthusiastic young individuals for whom it offered insights into apprenticeships, training & development, and job opportunities, as well as guidance on overall health and well-being.

The event was built on the existing collaboration between DWP and Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone and included contributions from a wide range of businesses, training providers, offering a comprehensive array of opportunities, including work placements, skills development, apprenticeships, and specialised courses.

Training providers contributing to the event included, amongst others, The Prince’s Trust, Blackburn with Darwen Adult Learning, Training 2000, IMO, Blackburn College, LEP, and NLTG.

In addition to career-focused opportunities, the fair collaborated with health providers to ensure a holistic approach to individual well-being, with contributing health providers including WHP, WHP Pioneer, Witton Park Greenhouse Project and Talking Therapies.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Mims Davies MP, said: “It was brilliant to attend Blackburn and Darwen Youth Zone’s Careers Fair, meet the local team, DWP colleagues and local employers who are creating great opportunities for young people to succeed at work, and to chat to so many fantastic young people who will be a huge asset to the workplace.

“We are dedicated to helping young people into work, which we know improves mental and physical wellbeing. We are  investing £2.3 billion in mental health services and expanding our DWP Youth Offer to give more under 25s the best start to their working life.”

Blackburn Youth Zone Chief Executive Hannah Allen said: “The employment fair is a regular feature in Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone’s diary and builds on the constant work of our Youth Hub Team. Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone launched the first Youth Hub in the country in 2021 after, along with our partners, we recognised how Young People were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Since the launch, the youth hub has supported over 700 young individuals, with 220 finding employment and 280 accessing training opportunities.

“This success has been aided by our brilliant community partners, our growing patron network of 74 businesses and the local authority awarding the service UKSPF.

“The Careers Fair, a pivotal event designed to illuminate the vast spectrum of opportunities for young individuals, was a resounding success. We are particularly grateful to our patrons Accrol Papers Ltd, Herbert Parkinsons Ltd, WEC Engineering Group, Kingswood Homes, JDS Trucks Ltd, Darwen Terracotta and Blackburn College, in helping make the event such a success.

“Minister Davies’ was given a tour of the Youth Zone by a group of young people who have benefited from our employment services and are now in full employment. The minister’s presence brought significant value to the fair, and she was able to share invaluable insights and expertise on the opportunities and challenges within the employment sector.”

Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone is part of the national OnSide movement – a network of state-of-the-art Youth Zones in the most disadvantaged areas of the country who collectively see 50,000 young people through their doors every year, providing access to highly-skilled youth workers who empower young people to lead positive, fulfilling lives.

As a charity dedicated to young people, Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone provides over sixty hours of services when schools are closed.

With over 4,500 members benefiting, its provision takes place at a state-of-the-art centre in Blackburn and satellite site in Darwen and also within the community.

Core services are open for ages five to 19, with dedicated SEND and Employability services open to young adults up to the age of 25.

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