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Current projections suggest that there could be around 155,000 residents in Horsham by 2026 – an increase of around 13%.

Local businesses celebrate youth employment contract outcome

Two local businesses joined forces in July last year to tackle youth unemployment in Horsham by actively promoting the Government’s new Youth Contract for employers and jobseekers.

Last year Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), a charity providing employment services to jobseekers from Sussex and Kent, supported Interior Concepts Ltd, a Trading Standards approved bespoke office design, refurbishment and installation company, to employ an apprentice, Mr. Paul Evans, utilizing the financial incentives available to businesses through the Youth Contract.

Paul’s workload has dramatically increased since his initial employment and now RBLI and Interior Concepts Ltd are celebrating him becoming a permanent member of staff, following the successful completion of his 6 month probation period.

Paul explains, “In the last 6 months the job has evolved dramatically. We have completed around 25 installations, including partitioning, suspended ceilings, decorating and electrical installations. I love that I am learning new trade skills every day while on the job, but the best thing about being employed is that I am now financially independent and can support my family.”

The Youth Contract is a £1 billion package of national support to get young people earning or learning again, before any long term damage associated with being unemployed can be done, such as loss of self esteem and becoming dependant on benefits. It provides employers with a financial incentive of up to £2,275 to employ an 18 to 24 year old from the Work Programme for a minimum of 26 weeks.

Colin Wells, founder of Interior Concepts Ltd, is pleased that the Youth Contract has worked to his company’s advantage, “Finding work can be particularly challenging for young people so it was great to be able to offer this opportunity by making full use of the Youth Contract’s wage incentive which directly helped our cash-flow whilst training Paul.

 “Paul is quickly becoming proficient in all aspects of our work and is fast becoming an asset to the business. He has given me an extra pair of hands to carry out tasks, which has enabled me to make better use of my time. We’ve become good friends in and outside of work, he’s also my new squash partner.”

RBLI is a Kent based charity which specialises in working with employers to support people of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds back into work as a sub-contractor to G4S through the Government’s Work Programme scheme.

Colin continues, “RBLI selected suitable candidates, which saved me from having to search for and interview lots of candidates to find those with the right skills. They let me use their interview rooms, helped set up contracts and offered advice on employment legislation.  As the service is free, I also saved on recruitment costs.

“And I am pleased that, with RBLI’s help, I am able to support younger jobseekers in the community.  I’m now looking to take on a junior marketer through the same contract, as I know it works!”

Peggy Seddon, Centre Manager for RBLI in Horsham, is keen to show more businesses the advantages of the Youth Contract, while supporting jobseekers in the community, “There are clear financial incentives for employers thinking about utilising the Youth Contract or hiring an apprentice, coupled with our free employer facilities and support.

“We are excited about local business supporting young jobseekers in the community into meaningful employment and are really pleased for Paul that he is using his existing skills and experiences on the job while gaining self efficacy, financial independence and new business skills.”

If you are an employer located in or around Horsham and would like to discuss the Youth Contract, please contact RBLI’s Horsham branch on 01403 211919 or email

If you are an 18 to 24 year old jobseeker please contact your local Job Centre Plus. For general information about the Youth Contract please visit

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