Time to get youngsters working

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2012

Richard Sibley and Liam Bishop.

Richard Sibley and Liam Bishop.

Archant

A NORTH Somerset farmer has developed a novel way to try and help youngsters who are struggling to find employment.

Richard Sibley, who owns Village Farm in Cleeve, is setting up a community project called Youth Hope to give youngsters paid work that will help them get employment in the future.

And he said it comes with the added bonus of providing assistance to older people who may no longer be able to carry out certain jobs and will benefit from an extra pair of hands.

He said: “It’s good for them to work because it gives them experience and general confidence. They can still be looking for a job while they do this.”

Mr Sibley said those involved can still claim Jobseeker’s Allowance as long as they work fewer than 16 hours a week but emphasised not only would it provide youngsters with more money, but would show initiative and willingness to work.

And he hopes the project will reduce the number of 18-25 year-olds claiming benefits – currently more than 640 in North Somerset according to the Office of National Statistics.

Claverham’s Liam Bishop, aged 21, has been the first to sign up to the venture and said he had struggled to find full-time work.

And he hopes doing some odd jobs around the village alongside some bar work would give him better job prospects in the future.

Under his plan youngsters would earn £10 per hour of which they would have to give a small percentage to the project to contribute towards running costs and attracting people to help run it.

Mr Sibley has started posting leaflets from homeowners doors to create interest and find anyone who needs any work to be done whether it be gardening, DIY or simply help with shopping or walking to the bus stop.

And he wants businesses to help his venture by providing freebies which he can use as incentives for households to get them involved.

He claims in the long run businesses would benefit because the more cash in hand youngsters can earn, the more they will be able to spend.

He said: “By pleasing householders, giving incentives out and by providing free entertainment for every community, a success can be made which will create growth in our economy, while putting earnings in youngsters’ pockets and improving job applications.

“It will be like a whole family as the older brother helps a younger brother when more people join.”

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