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Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Mims Davies MP, was the guest of
honour at Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone’s Careers Fair on Thursday 29th
February 2024.

The event was attended by 189 enthusiastic young individuals for whom it offered
insights into apprenticeships, training & development, and job opportunities, as well
as guidance on overall health and well-being.

The event was built on the existing collaboration between DWP and Blackburn &
Darwen Youth Zone and included contributions from a wide range of businesses,
training providers, offering a comprehensive array of opportunities, including work
placements, skills development, apprenticeships, and specialised courses.
Training providers contributing to the event included, amongst others, The Prince’s
Trust, Blackburn with Darwen Adult Learning, Training 2000, IMO, Blackburn
College, LEP, and NLTG.

In addition to career-focused opportunities, the fair collaborated with health providers
to ensure a holistic approach to individual well-being, with contributing health
providers including WHP, WHP Pioneer, Witton Park Greenhouse Project and
Talking Therapies.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Mims Davies MP, said:

“It was brilliant to attend Blackburn and Darwen Youth Zone’s Careers Fair, meet the
local team, DWP colleagues and local employers who are creating great
opportunities for young people to succeed at work, and to chat to so many fantastic
young people who will be a huge asset to the workplace.

“We are dedicated to helping young people into work, which we know improves
mental and physical wellbeing. We are investing £2.3 billion in mental healthservices and expanding our DWP Youth Offer to give more under 25s the best start
to their working life.”

Blackburn Youth Zone Chief Executive Hannah Allen said:
“The employment fair is a regular feature in Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone’s diary
and builds on the constant work of our Youth Hub Team. Blackburn & Darwen Youth
Zone launched the first Youth Hub in the country in 2021 after, along with our
partners, we recognised how Young People were disproportionately affected by the
pandemic. Since the launch, the youth hub has supported over 700 young
individuals, with 220 finding employment and 280 accessing training opportunities.

“This success has been aided by our brilliant community partners, our growing patron
network of 74 businesses and the local authority awarding the service UKSPF.

“The Careers Fair, a pivotal event designed to illuminate the vast spectrum of
opportunities for young individuals, was a resounding success. We are particularly
grateful to our patrons Accrol Papers Ltd, Herbert Parkinsons Ltd, WEC Engineering
Group, Kingswood Homes, JDS Trucks Ltd, Darwen Terracotta and Blackburn
College, in helping make the event such a success.
“Minister Davies’ was given a tour of the Youth Zone by a group of young people who
have benefited from our employment services and are now in full employment. The
minister's presence brought significant value to the fair, and she was able to share
invaluable insights and expertise on the opportunities and challenges within the
employment sector.”

Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone is part of the national OnSide movement – a
network of state-of-the-art Youth Zones in the most disadvantaged areas of the
country who collectively see 50,000 young people through their doors every year,
providing access to highly-skilled youth workers who empower young people to lead
positive, fulfilling lives.

As a charity dedicated to young people, Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone provides
over sixty hours of services when schools are closed.
With over 4,500 members benefiting, its provision takes place at a state-of-the-art
centre in Blackburn and satellite site in Darwen and also within the community.

Core services are open for ages five to 19, with dedicated SEND and Employability
services open to young adults up to the age of 25.

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