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Young people who have lost jobs and training placements as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic are to be offered support through a new youth hub partnership called Step Up. 

Step Up is for 16 to 24 year olds living in Blackburn with Darwen who are currently not in employment.

A partnership between Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, the Department for Work & Pensions and Blackburn Youth Zone, Step Up responds to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on young people’s employment and training. 

Since the start of the crisis, an additional 1,176 young people in Blackburn with Darwen have begun claiming Universal Credit. 

Step Up gives young people an opportunity to benefit from the support of skilled Youth Employability Work Coaches from the jobcentre to avoid them becoming the long term unemployed of the future. 

A range of local and national partners are also on board to offer opportunities including work experience placements, mentoring circles and traineeships. 

Through Step Up, 16 to 24 years olds can get help with: 

Outreach sessions will take place online as well as in person at Blackburn Youth Zone in Jubilee Street and in community venues. 

Support is also available for employers to encourage them to take on young staff, including schemes that fund part time positions, and bonus payments for taking on furloughed workers. 

Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment, said:

“By rolling out Youth Hubs across local communities like this one in Blackburn with Darwen, young people will be able to access vital, suitable support from our Work Coaches in a range of settings helping to match them with local opportunities whether it’s more training or to help them move into employment.  

“This is a challenging time and we are serious about investing in young people as we get Britain back working again and moving further into recovery. That’s why, as part of our Youth Offer, we are also injecting £2 billion into the DWP Kickstart scheme, creating new, subsidised, high-quality roles for under 25s as we continue our work to protect, support and create jobs.”

Carla Passarello, Service Leader for the Department for Work and Pensions, said:

 “Young people have always been one of our key priorities and Jobcentres are an integral part of the local community, so partnering with Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn Youth Zone on the new Youth Hub makes perfect sense.

“We are getting a head start on helping young people face the unique set of challenges presented by the pandemic, whether that is through providing support and training, coaching the right candidates into the right roles, or working with the DWP Kickstart scheme and matching our young people’s varied skill sets to new roles right here in the local community.”

The Step Up youth hub is part of the BwD Help Hub, a community hub set up by Blackburn with Darwen Council and local partners in late March to support residents through lockdown. 

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth & Development, said:

“We cannot underestimate the catastrophic economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. What we want to do through this new partnership with the DWP and Blackburn Youth Zone is help the borough’s younger generation to bounce back from this period as best they can, with new skills and a confidence in their own abilities, ready to work in a post-Covid world. 

“We will do whatever we can to help these young people avoid becoming the long term unemployed.” 

Hannah Allen, the Chief Executive of Blackburn Youth Zone, added: 

“At Youth Zone we are all about helping young people to realise their potential. Joining the Step Up partnership means we can offer our facilities as a base for outreach sessions with employment coaches who specialise in working with this age group, as well as our expertise in engaging young people. 

“We hope that young jobseekers who don’t feel comfortable engaging with the Job Centre will come along to sessions we host, both in person and online.”

Other partners supporting the Step Up programme include Abu Hanifah Foundation, Blackburn College, Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, the National Careers Service, Newground, One Voice Blackburn, the Prince’s Trust, and Youth Action. 

More information about the Step Up youth hub for 16 to 24 year olds is available at

Take the first step towards realising your work potential – contact the Step Up team via the BwD Help Hub: