A unique partnership between Burnley Leisure and Whitefield Youth Association is helping young people from Burnley to get on a path to employment.

The two organisations have been delivering the Strike for Life initiative, which has provided 11 local youngsters not in education, employment or training with a chance to gain leadership and confidence skills and improve their future employability.

The project, which is designed for 16-25 year-olds, is using sport as an incentive to engage young adults on to personal development programmes and offer them opportunities boosting their employability.

Waheed Rashid, Burnley Leisure’s project development officer, said: “By joining the programme, the participants learn new skills, gain the nationally recognised level 2 award in community sports leadership, and get support looking for jobs.

“The scheme also gives people the chance to gain valuable experience through volunteering at local sporting, cultural and community events along with work placement opportunities.”

During the four-week timeframe, the youngsters have been attending various training courses, helping with community sport sessions and even supported the family fun day at Gannow Community Centre, which was hailed a success by the organisers.

They also put their newly-gained skills to the test and delivered a football coaching session to Heasandford Primary School children, who thoroughly enjoyed a kick-about afternoon at the new Prairie Sport Village.

Strike for Life works together with other local organisations including Daisy Communications, Burnley Youth Zone, and NEET strategy group, which help identify participants through consultations. Youngsters themselves can also get in touch with the project organisers to express their interest.

Hamid Khan, Whitefield Youth Association programme manager, said: “I can see current partnership working to continue delivering such programmes that have a real impact on young people in attracting further training and employment opportunities.”

Gerard Vinton, chief executive at Burnley Leisure, said: “It is great to see these 11 young people are now ready to continue on their path onto employment, they have shown that given the chance, with commitment from them, success follows.”

For more information on volunteering and Strike for Life, please contact Waheed Rashid on 01282 425011 ext. 3223 or email wrashid@burnley.gov.uk.

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