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‘Work pairing’ to be trialled in five councils


Five councils have been selected to take part in 'work pairing' trials, in which young people are teamed up with mentors in local small-to-medium businesses in order to gain work experience.
The work placements will last up to 10 weeks and, if successful, the coalition government plans to extend the scheme to 50,000 trainees nationally. The local authorities selected by the Department of Education to take part in the pilots comprise East Sussex, Gateshead, Manchester, Knowsley and Staffordshire.
Will Nixon, chief executive of Aspire Group's PM Training, which is participating in Staffordshire's trial, said: "Work pairing is like a pre-apprenticeship. It helps young people become work-ready and offers real work experience, hopefully leading onto an apprenticeship or full-time job."
The social enterprise, which provides accredited training to more than 1,000 unemployed people a year, is working with Newcastle Borough Council, with the support of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The idea behind the 'work pairing' scheme originated in Scotland and appeared in the Conservative Party's election manifesto. It has since becomes part of the coalition government's Core Work Programme entitled 'Getting Britain Working'.
Although there is no set end date for the trials, participants are due to meet with the Department of Education in May to review and evaluate results to date.

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