MP John Healey has backed a new initiative to help young unemployed people in the Dearne get experience in the workplace.

The Our Community programme is being run in partnership with Communitas, the learning arm of Community union, and Jobcentre Plus.

It was launched today (Monday 23 March), when around 30 local employers attended a breakfast briefing to find out more.

It is hoped that local businesses and organisations will support the scheme by offering a young person a two to eight week work placement.

Young people who take part will also get a qualification and help with CV writing and interview techniques.

John Healey MP said: “I am really concerned by how hard it is for many of our young people to get a decent start in their working lives.

“Apprenticeships in our area are down in the last couple of years, and unemployment rates have gone up.

“Time and again I hear young people say they cannot get jobs because they don’t have workplace experience.

“That’s why I want to get this new work experience programme off the ground.”

Robert Fairbairn, Chief Executive Officer of Communitas, said: “Communitas are delighted to be working with John Healey to deliver Our Community – a workplace initiative that helps young unemployed people gain valuable experience and skills that will aid them in securing employment.

“With John’s help we will raise awareness within the local business community to give placements following a pre-employment training programme. Our hope is that this will be a springboard into employment for the young people that choose to take part.”

The Our Community initiative is also backed by the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Commenting on the initiative its Chief Executive, Andrew Denniff, said: “I would urge as many employers as possible in the Dearne to come along and find out how this initiative can not only support our young people but also enhance your own business. The Chamber is firmly behind this scheme and I will be joining John Healey and our local Jobcentre at the event to promote this as widely as possible.”