City of Wolverhampton Council’s ‘Wolves at Work 18-24’ programme is showing encouraging signs – but bosses recognise there is still more to do.

The latest provisional figures for January 2022 show youth unemployment in Wolverhampton has dropped below 10% for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Wolves at Work 18-24 is contributing by supporting young people currently claiming benefits and aged 18 to 24 into sustainable employment, apprenticeships, education or training.

Since the £3 million programme was established in September last year, unemployment among this age group in the city has decreased by 600 from 2,660 to 2,060 - and Wolverhampton no longer has the highest claimant rate in the UK.

Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “Thanks in part to the extra focus provided by Wolves at Work 18-24 and the improved collaboration with DWP, sector partners and key city businesses we are starting to see a positive difference.

“This is encouraging and - due to all of the great work that is planned in the coming weeks and months - we are confident we will continue to see a further reduction in numbers. Of course, we have always been clear that it could take several years to make a significant and sustained impact on youth unemployment.

“Wolves at Work 18-24 urgently delivers the step change needed in our city to give unemployed young people opportunities for secure, sustainable employment, apprenticeships, education or training.

“It is helping us build on existing schemes and develop a reinvigorated and comprehensive programme of targeted interventions.

“The Council cannot address this challenge in isolation, it is therefore absolutely essential that the Council leads and drives a coordinated and sustained response with city employers and partners, the West Midlands Combined Authority and Government Departments – a ‘One City’ Response, with young people and their voices at the centre of every element of the response.”

On the back of a city summit in October a City Ideas Fund of initially £100,000 was launched for city employers and partners to submit bids to fund new ideas aimed at getting more young people into sustained employment, apprenticeships, education or training.

The first applicants have already received funding, with further applications currently being considered.

Next month, young people aged 18-24, looking for work and living in Wolverhampton are being invited to attend free local events to find out about the support and opportunities available:

  • Thursday 3 March, 11am to 2pm, Low Hill Community Centre, Kempthorne Avenue, Wolverhampton, WV10 9JJ 
    Book your place at eventbrite or call 01902 550012
  • Wednesday 9 March, 11am to 2pm, The Way Youth Zone, School Street, Wolverhampton, WV3 0NR 
    Book your place at eventbrite or call 01902 550012

This will be followed by drop in sessions in East Park, Fallings Park, Bilston East and Bilston North. The date for East Park is below, with dates for the other three wards to be confirmed.

  • Thursday 14 April, 2pm to 5pm, East Park Library, Hurstbourne Crescent, Wolverhampton, WV1 2EE

For more information visit Wolves at Work 18-24.