Jewson and Street League, the national charity that uses football to tackle youth unemployment, have announced a UK-wide partnership to create hundreds of job opportunities across the UK.

The announcement follows the launch of a successful partnership in Scotland in 2015, that saw the builders’ merchant work with the charity to create placements for 100 young people and boost the uptake of apprenticeships across the country. Jewson is now pledging a further 300 work placements in its UK branches for 2016.

Street League uses the power of football to attract unemployed people aged 16 to 24 onto its award-winning Academy programme, of which there are 36 programmes running across the UK. On the course, participants develop key employability skills and acquire nationally-recognised qualifications over a 10-week period. In the past five years, Street League has supported more than 4,200 young people into employment, training and education, which is more than 70 per cent of all graduates from the programme.

Mark Rayfield, CEO of Jewson, said: “With 622,000 16-24 year olds across the UK currently unemployed, it’s fundamental that we help them gain the skills and workplace experience that they need to get ahead.

“It seems paradoxical that we’re experiencing a construction skills gap, with a critical shortage of young tradespeople while so many young people are out of work. Jewson is committed to playing an active role in the community, and working with Street League allows us help change people’s lives for the better.” 

Matt Stevenson-Dodd, CEO, Street League, said: “2015 was the beginning of a prosperous partnership with Jewson in Scotland, so we’re excited to announce that we’ll be working with the firm across Britain.

“Working at Jewson allowed young people from Scotland to hone the skills they acquired in the Street League Academy in a professional environment. Some graduates even went on to secure permanent jobs with the firm and we’re hoping to replicate this success nationwide.”

Street League and Jewson officially launched the partnership at Hotel Football in Manchester in March. The companies hosted an event on the roof-top football pitch, where Jewson employees and Street League Academy students took part in a range of football-themed competitions, including a ‘Keepie Uppy’ challenge and a penalty shoot-out.