This year more than 100 young people in West Lothian benefitted from the council’s wage subsidy programme.
The programme offers companies the chance to employ a young person, with the council providing half of their salary costs for up to a year.
Its success has led to the creation of a similar programme in the third sector to allow for more job opportunities, as well as helping non-for-profit organisations with their work.
Through the programme West Lothian Council has provided funding for up to 40 positions in voluntary organisations and social enterprise groups.
With help from the wage subsidy programme Bathgate-based Kidzeco recently recruited Debbie Dodds (21), from Bathgate, who had previously volunteered with them. Kidzeco is a not-for-profit social enterprise which was set up in 2010 to offer services including recycling baby and children’s goods and hosting kids’ parties and baby and toddler groups.
Debbie said: “Working in Kidzeco is a great opportunity for me to not only get full-time employment but to learn new skills, meet new people and help the community.
“I did volunteer with Kidzeco before I got this job and I feel that the job has given me more confidence to carry out my role and provide me with structure in my day-to0-day living.”
Council leader John McGinty said: “The Steps N2 Work wage subsidy programme is already starting to deliver benefits for young people in West Lothian.
“Permanent employment positions have been created since the programme was launched just over six months ago, demonstrating that the programme is creating sustainable employment opportunities for young people.
“It’s fantastic that the programme is now being rolled out to the third sector and I’d encourage other groups to get in touch with the council to see how the programme could benefit them.
“I would like to thank local employers like Kidzeco who are doing a fantastic job whilst helping to create opportunities for local young people.”
Anne Cowe, shop supervisor at Kidzeco, said: “By joining the Steps N2 Work scheme, not only have we created an opportunity for a young person to enter into full-time employment but we get full-time help and have the opportunity of utilising a young person’s skills and enthusiasm, benefiting both the individual and the organisation as a whole.
“Without this financial contribution from Steps N2 Work we could not currently offer a full-time post in Kidzeco.”
Organisations interested in the scheme can contact 01506 281330 or email email@example.com.