A NEW council scheme will aim to boost employment following the failure of previous projects.

Figures show many aspects of the £9 million Worknet program, which saw contractors take on the responsibility of helping people into jobs, repeatedly did not meet targets.

But now the new cabinet member for economic development, Cllr Mark Rusling, has announced a new approach incorporating a long-term strategy which begins in schools.

Waltham Forest has the highest proportion of unemployed young people in London, with 10.3 per cent not working, in education or training, and is in the top ten areas in the country for unemployment.

Cllr Rusling said: "We want to offer almost a lifetime service, where we see people go into school at the age of four or five, and we help them acquire the key skills until they are in work, and even after to train for new opportunities.

"The key thing around youth unemployment is skills. If you sort out that you'll get young people into jobs. Obviously schools have a role to play around literacy and numeracy, but in too many areas there's a disconnect between what happens at school and work. I want to close that gap.

"We'll do a lot more employer engagement so we can make sure young people have the skills employers are looking for. We also want to encourage businesses to take on apprentices."

The new scheme is set to start in January.

Public sector union has criticised the council for closing the borough's career service, claiming schools do not have the expertise or resources to take on the role.

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