THE future of a trailblazing scheme which helps young people into long-term jobs is now hanging in the balance, according to the charity running the project.
Talent Match SCR will come to an end in December 2018 unless new funding can be found.
Youth charity Sheffield Futures, which runs the scheme, are desperately searching for a new cash influx to keep it going.
Talent Match is a Big Lottery-funded nationwide programme supporting people aged 18 to 25 not in employment or tranining to get into work or start their own business and has so far helped more than 600 find work and 1,300 get into education, training and voluntary work.
But Gail Gibbons, chief executive officer at Sheffield Futures, said: “The future of Talent Match is touch and go.
“Talent Match has changed lives in this region.
“Young people who believed they could never have a secure and happy future — because they thought they were unemployable - now have steady jobs and dreams they can reach for.
“We have to find a way to continue so we can help thousands more.”
Talent Match helps people who have jobless for more than 12 months, many of whom experience learning disabilities, mental health problems, homelessness and single parenthood and some of whom have spent years in care.
A team of 23 coaches support those who have been found work for at least six months.
Jo Booth, Talent Match SCR programme manager said: “Many come to us with their confidence at rock-bottom and problems they believe are insurmountable.
“We help young people to rebuild their lives by going back to the foundations to find out how to make their lives easier, then gently get them ready for the workplace.”
Bookkeeping firm Zenza, based in Manvers, is among the employers who have joined the scheme.
Credit Control manager Leeann Shentall said: “We believe in giving chances to those that want chances.
“We like to see people develop in themselves and are happy we are in a position to make that happen.
“We know that there are young people that have a true desire to work, but need an opportunity, which we are happy to provide.”
The charity held a No One Left Behind conference at Rotherham’s New York Stadium on Friday at which local authorities, employers, funders, stakeholders and social investors were asked to back their fight for survival by offering funding and support.