UNEMPLOYED young people could be in line for a vital opportunity with a new scheme unveiled by United Utilities.

The water firm will be taking on 250 young people as park of the government’s new Kick Start scheme.

Under the terms of the scheme, firms will receive public funding to provide six-month placements to 16 to 24-year olds who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

United Utilities’ customer services and people director Louise Beardmore said: “Kick Start is a brilliant initiative that aims to help companies give work opportunities to young people who have borne the brunt of the economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know the North West has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK and this year life has got even tougher,” she added.

This comes after the coronavirus crisis has devastated the job market, with young people hit particularly hard.

A study by the Department of Work and Pensions earlier this year found that after the first lockdown an extra 1,000 young people in Blackburn and Darwen alone had been forced on to universal credit due to the Covid crisis’s economic impact.

They were joined by a total of 122,657 young people across the North West as a whole and 938,000 nationwide.

United Utilities says that over the next 12 months around half of the 250 recruits will be found placements in customer service and operational support roles and the rest will be with partners and contractors of the water company.

All the young people will be recruited on a six-month fixed-term contract and will receive job-related and employability skills training supported by the company’s learning and development team.

The new scheme will join several that the company already runs to support young people into work, including United Utilities’ Youth Programme for young people between 18 and 24 who are not in education, employment, or training.

Around 90 per cent of Youth Programme participants have a disability or long-term health condition and are from an area of low social mobility and high deprivation.

To find out more, go to https://www.unitedutilities.com/corporate/careers/.