Prince Andrew praises Ladder for the Black Country jobs drive
The Duke of York championed the results of the Express & Star-led Ladder for the Black Country as it celebrated its one year anniversary with more than 700 new apprenticeships created.
The campaign has been so successful that this year it was expanded with the launch of the Ladder for Staffordshire creating 163 apprenticeships along with the Ladder for Shropshire having 70 pledges, taking the total to more than 900.
It comes as the region was shown to be bucking the trend with unemployment falling at the fastest rate in the country.
Prince Andrew today said: "As patron of Ladder for the Black Country, I am very proud to see what has been achieved in the last year.
"Your achievement in creating nearly 1,000 jobs provides valuable and important opportunities for young people.
"I am committed to supporting initiatives that help young people gain the necessary skills to become economically active.
"I am grateful to all the partners and supporters of this important initiative for their leadership, hard work and tenacity; it would not have been possible without your valuable contribution, collaboration or commitment.
"I wish the Ladder for the Black Country team every continued success for the next year."
By Express & Star Editor Keith Harrison
The Ladder for the Black Country was launched a year ago as our region suffered among the highest youth unemployment in the country.
Our communities were struggling and help was needed. The Express & Star and partners took up a challenge from the Duke of York to become a 'local solution'' to this problem.
The aim was simply to help get some of our young people into work.
We appealed to our communities, local businesses and young people to get behind the Ladder. And you did.
Some 900 apprenticeships were created across the Midlands and hundreds of young people came to us eager for work.
We are delighted by the success of the Ladder - and the communities of the Black Country and Staffordshire should be proud too.
You answered our call for help to tackle youth unemployment which today we reveal has fallen by 3,000 in the region.
With pride and passion we will continue the Ladder's work and hope you will continue to support us.
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