Sustrans has teamed up with the Future Jobs Fund to enhance the National Cycle Networks and give new skills to unemployed young people.
Trainees will get chance to train to use diggers and other machinery while renovating and revitalising sections of the National Cycle Networks, including in Bideford, Barnstaple, Taunton, Bath, Swindon, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Whitehaven, Lincoln, Rotherham, Leeds and Consett.
182 unemployed young people, aged between 18 and 24, have been taken on for a six-month contract. Trainees have to have been unemployed for at least six months to be taken on by the scheme.
Sustrans Future Jobs Fund manager Simon Talbot-Ponsonby commented: "It’s moving how enthusiastic all the trainees are about having a real job. Some were really emotional when they were taken on, and the hardest thing we have had to do was turn away so many other good people who also needed a chance to get back into work."
Twenty-four year old and father of one Paul Nelson, from Leeds, said: "I’d been out of work for a year and training isn’t available so it’s been really hard trying to support my young boy. But now I can get some qualifications behind me and look towards getting a gardening or landscaping job.
"We’ve met some genuinely friendly people walking and cycling along the paths, so it’ll be really satisfying to improve the area for them."
Jamie Lavelle, aged 23, from Bradford, said: "It’s great getting back to a bit of graft after two years out of work. I’d missed out on loads of jobs because I’ve got a bit of previous. This gives me the chance to move on so it’s a great thing Sustrans is doing."