Former England football player and Tottenham Hotspur Ambassador Ledley King is backing the launch of a local jobs pilot aimed at getting more young people from black and ethnic minorities into work.

A new ‘Job Fit’ pilot being launched by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith today has been developed from survey results showing young people wanted more mentoring and work experience opportunities.

Working together with business to create jobs and get people into work are central to the government’s long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy, so young people can secure their future.

There are now more than 3 million ethnic minority workers in jobs in Great Britain. Ten years ago, the employment rate gap between ethnic minorities and the overall population was 15.2 percentage points, that now stands at 11.8 percentage points.

However young black men, for example, are still more likely to be unemployed (24% of all young black men, compared with 15% of all young men), which is why Jobcentre Plus have developed a locally-tailored approach to tackle the issue.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: “All young people should grow up believing that they will have the opportunity to have a fulfilling career.

“Government’s role is to ensure they have the skills and the support they need to fulfil their aspirations. But businesses have a valuable role to play too – by opening their doors and giving young people a chance. Over the past decade the employment gap has narrowed, but we know more needs to be done.

“I’m really pleased to be launching this project today and I would encourage any local employer who thinks they can support the young people in their area get into work to get involved.”

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is already working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, Haringey Council and Sainsbury’s on an employment partnership for all local people. They will carry out a programme of intervention and support to put local people in the best possible position to get access to the jobs and training opportunities that are starting to emerge from the club’s new stadium scheme, the first step in the regeneration of Tottenham.

Through its award-winning Foundation, the club is supporting this latest pilot in Haringey through innovative community development programmes such as E18HTEEN and OnSide, that use the unique appeal of Premier League football to create life-changing opportunities.

Ledley King, who has become an Ambassador for the Club’s local regeneration plans since announcing his retirement from the game in 2012, said: “Tottenham Hotspur and its Foundation have a great track record in supporting local people into education, employment and training.

“I have seen first-hand the great work that the club is doing to get local people employed through its new stadium scheme and am personally proud to be involved in that.

“It’s great that our work with Jobcentre Plus has the backing of the government and will no doubt continue to a make a difference in the lives of many.”

Tottenham Hotspur Football club are partnering with Tottenham Jobcentre Plus as 1 of 4 pilots being run with local employers across London over the next 6 months. Other pilots are being run in Lambeth, Brent and Hackney, where the results will be tracked and compared with a comparison group, and best practice will be used in jobcentres in other parts of the country.

The Tottenham project is based on feedback from an in-depth survey with young unemployed people in the local area, who said they wanted:

  • more opportunities to take up work experience and apprenticeships
  • extra CV and interview support
  • more information on self-employment.

The Haringey pilot being launched today will include:

  • an innovative ‘peer’ group support approach – where young people have group meetings and the opportunity to network and inspire others in the local area who will have had more, or less, success in the job market
  • access to successful black business mentors
  • work experience and apprenticeships with local businesses
  • job clubs
  • mock interview and CV training
  • identifying skills gaps with follow-up training
  • access to self-employment opportunities – young people will meet with local successful entrepreneurs, for example the owner of Blooming Scent café who started her business with support from the Prince’s Trust
  • access to regular local job fairs every three months with local employers.

Employers interested in supporting local young unemployed people get into work can join the pilots by contacting the Tottenham, Brent, Lambeth and Hackney Jobcentre Plus.

The pilots have been developed to provide additional support than that already offered through the Work Programme and the Flexible Support Fund, and are aimed to tackle local and entrenched barriers preventing young black and ethnic minorities from moving off benefits and into work.