Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield has written an open letter, urging bosses to help a city’s “lost generation” by backing the £3 million Wolves in Work scheme.
The city has the highest proportion of unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds in the country, a trend also mirrored in other Black Country boroughs. More than 2,600 are not in jobs, education or training.
Councillor Brookfield today called for a ‘one city’ coalition of support from the council, employers and trainers to come up with ideas to tackle the crisis. He said there was a need for “urgent intervention and action”.
He said: "I truly believe that this is a city that leaves no-one behind. But, to shift that dial, we need disruptive thinking, we need to shake things up – because all our best efforts to date, have not been enough.
"Which is why we need to come together as ‘one city’ – as we’ve done throughout the pandemic – and we need to act because time is running out.
"We risk presiding over a ‘lost generation’ and we cannot keep kicking the can down the road."
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden, the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has urged businesses to get behind the scheme.
He said: "In Wolverhampton we have had unemployment rates consistently higher than the national average for many years now.
"Wolves at Work does a really good job of helping people into work. I’m really pleased that the city council is making this a big priority and putting a concerted effort into getting our unemployment rate down.
"Having a job is not just about boosting your income – it’s also about a sense of purpose and hopefully a path to progress in the future.
"I would strongly encourage local employers to get behind the Wolves at Work efforts and to join a citywide effort to make sure talent and lives don’t go to waste and we get as many people as possible into work."
Around 6,700 people have been helped into jobs through the original Wolves at Work programme.