Innovation Exchange

Youth Investment Programme


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

In February 2012, it was clear to North Lanarkshire Council that the economic recession was having an impact on North Lanarkshire employment levels that was in danger of leaving a damaging legacy of long term unemployment, particularly among young people.   In response, the Council created the Youth Investment Programme with the aim of getting 5,000 unemployed residents into work by March 2015.   The programme exceeded its target and in March 2015 had supported 5,292 unemployed residents into work.  The Council committed £1.7 million to supporting a further phase of the Youth Investment Programme in 2015/16 and a target of supporting a further 1000 people into work.  By the end of 2015/16 the Council’s programmes had supported over 6,300 people into employment.


As part of the Youth Investment Programme, the Council also set itself the goal of playing a significant role in supporting the employment of young people from North Lanarkshire.  The Council increased its own Modern Apprenticeship Programme and has recruited 470 young people into this since 2012.  In addition, it initiated a Youth Placement Programme which provided 200 x6 month entry level work experience opportunities for young people within the Council and a Graduate Futures Programme which provided 70 x12 month graduate level work opportunities for local unemployed or under employed graduates.

The labour market in North Lanarkshire in 2016 offers a completely different set of challenges to that presented to the Council in 2012, when it made the decision to directly tackle the high youth unemployment within the area.  In February 2012, 1 in 10 young people were unemployed and that number is now 1 in 55, with youth unemployment reduced from 10% to 1.8%.   

Theme: Employability

north lanarkshire council

Promoted to businesses and unemployed residents under the North Lanarkshire’s Working (NLW) banner, the service offers a free, confidential and bespoke service to unemployed residents of North Lanarkshire with the aim of moving them towards employment, training or education.

The basic premise of NLW Youth Investment Programme is to persuade businesses looking to expand, by taking on new apprentices or staff, to consider using NLW as the resource they use to identify and select candidates.


A specialist employer engagement team works with businesses in all sectors to assess their needs but there is a specific focus on those sectors which have been identified as growth sectors for the area.  The supply side of the labour market is the area where NLW funded partners play a significant role.  Their work involves providing individualized support to participants via a variety of programmes to ensure that participants are job ready.  The programme offers financial incentives to employers for a significant number of candidates.

To ensure this process works effectively and on a large scale a bespoke management information system, website and recruitment portal for candidates was developed.


The main benefits and impact of the project is its contribution to reducing unemployment in North Lanarkshire.  The Council’s investment, targeted on businesses, played a significant role in reducing youth unemployment in North Lanarkshire.  However, there were additional benefits:



One of the key benefits to the organization has been the recruitment of young people to the Council to Services, where, for some time, the age profile has been increasing.  The Graduate Futures programme offered graduates 12 months practical experience in North Lanarkshire Council. With 70 places available it has been instrumental in helping graduates gain practical knowledge within their degree specialism. Moreover, it has assisted NLC with workforce planning as well as introduced new talent to the organization.  In addition, as one of the major employers in the area, the Council has taken a lead in demonstrating its commitment to addressing the challenge of unemployment and a pride in this commitment as well as achieving its ambitious target is shared by all employees.



Staff have had the opportunity to develop new skills. For example, the Regeneration Support Officers are liaising with businesses and customers which is a skill they have had to learn since the inception of the portal. The Employer Engagement team has had to change the way they work as they are ‘selling’ the recruitment portal and financial incentives to businesses.



Only unemployed, North Lanarkshire residents are able to apply for vacancies on the portal, therefore, those with the greatest need are given the best opportunity to find work. Moreover, customers have benefitted from the recruitment portal as they have access to a wide range of vacancies on one website.  It has become apparent that customers are also gaining wider access to skills development through the portal, as the majority of vacancies created are modern apprenticeships. This enables the customer to gain an accredited qualification along with on the job training.


The key lessons learned were that:


  • a partnership approach to dealing with large scale unemployment is vital
  • a clear message to employers and unemployed residents needs to be developed and communicated
  • significant investment, if targeted effectively, can have a major impact on employment figures
  • an effective management information system is vital for performance management and reporting


For further information, please go to:


Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Paul Kane

Employability Services Team Leader

North Lanarkshire Council

01212 123456

Case study added to site: June 2016

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