A project that’s helped hundreds of Nottingham young people to a bright future has been announced winner of a prestigious award.

Nottingham City Council’s Nottingham Works programme is a £6.8m initiative part financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). It provides ongoing support to the city’s young people, including some of the most vulnerable groups, to find training and employment, and also works with businesses to provide financial grants and recruitment for traineeships, apprenticeships and job opportunities.

Now the service has been chosen as winner of the ESF Equality Leader Award for Specialist Project. The panel were impressed by the service’s strong commitment to promoting equality, wealth of knowledge and partnership approach to working.

The Nottingham Works programme is delivered by the City Council’s Nottingham Jobs Service and six partner organisations based in communities around the city. The primary aim of Nottingham Jobs is to address unemployment in Nottingham and help city residents gain sustainable work.

The programme supports 16-29 year olds who are unemployed, focusing on lone parents, residents from BME communities, people with mental health conditions, ex-offenders and those who are at risk of joining gangs to help them overcome barriers to getting the career they want.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Skills, commented: “We are delighted that the Council’s Nottingham Works programme has been recognised as a leading project for equality standards. We believe that every young person should get the support they need to take full advantage of the employment opportunities that exist in and around Nottingham.

“Breaking the cycle of worklessness sometimes requires extra support and mentoring to overcome barriers to sustainable employment. This project provides that extra support. The scheme has been highly successful so far, with 70 of our young people securing jobs or Apprenticeships with local employers to date”

The Nottingham Works programmes have been making a real difference in the lives of local residents like Jordan Chantler, 23, from Top Valley, a young father struggling to apply for jobs. Community organisations working on the programme were able to help Jordan with his applications and create a CV that gained him work experience. He’s now working towards finding an apprenticeship in construction.

Jordan said: “The staff are friendly and helpful. They’ve really supported me with my CV and applications and found more opportunities for me to apply for.”

The service was also able to help Lukasz Reszczynski, 19, from Carlton Hill. He wanted to get into a business administration role. After working with the Nottingham Works programme, he was offered an admin role at DHL and has settled happily into the company.

The commitment to meeting young people’s individual needs and ensuring equality at all levels has proved the winning combination for Nottingham Works and reflects the Council’s commitment to reducing the number of workless young people In the city.

The award will be presented at the ceremony taking place at the UK Skills Show on Thursday 17 November.