Published: 14 May 2021
Today Matthew Green the council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning welcomed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey as she visited Westminster Wheels - a training scheme which is transforming young lives and creating vital green jobs in the city.
Westminster Wheels is a project developed by Westminster City Council with Groundwork London and Cycle Confident which offers 17 to 24 year olds a chance to build new skills in a six month paid training course.
Westminster Wheels employs and trains local young people who are not in work or education, to become qualified bike mechanics through the Government’s Kickstart scheme taking on four new recruits this month.
The visit comes after COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, outlined how the UK will work with its Italian partners to prevent global temperatures rising above 1.5C and protect our planet and people from the intensifying impacts of climate change ahead of November’s global summit.
Westminster Wheels is part of the Groundwork federation of charities who are working to combat climate change across the UK with green, job creating projects in local communities. They have been given a major boost by the Kickstart scheme which has funded over 800 new jobs for the group.
The project is already transforming lives, helping young people get into a growing green industry.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, said:
London is a cycling city, even more so after Covid. The green jobs that keep it moving are vital as we build back greener. That is why it is fantastic that through the Kickstart Scheme, Westminster Wheels is able to offer these roles to young Londoners – helping to get their careers into gear.
Cabinet Member for Business, Licensing and Planning: Councillor Matthew Green
The pandemic has been particularly challenging for young people leaving education. In an uncertain time, Westminster Wheels is offering a kick start to young people, many of whom come from difficult backgrounds. By providing new skills as bicycle mechanics, they will be ready to embark on a lifelong career in a growing industry.
We’ve set ambitious targets for our city to become carbon neutral by 2040 and this scheme is also making it easier than ever for residents to take up cycling – a cleaner and greener way to get around. Of the bicycles that are donated to be refurbished by our young mechanics, we will give 20% of them to the local community. Westminster Wheels not only supports the employability of young people, but also gets bikes to those who need them most in our communities, so they can take up active transport.
Groundwork - Graham Parry Director Youth Employment & Skills.
Westminster Wheels is a fantastic example of a public, private and charitable partnership coming together to boost the green economy. Through Groundwork London’s Kickstart grant, with the considerable support of Westminster City Council and the expertise of Cycle Confident, we are enabling our trainees to move into new green careers and supply the growing number of cyclists with quality affordable refurbished bikes.
Cycle Confident – David Showell CEO
Cycle Confident are proud to support Westminster Wheels and its trainees through our expertise in delivering professional City & Guilds bike mechanics training and setting up bike shops. This has helped the cycling industry as a whole as our participants have gone on to find jobs at a time when the demand for skilled mechanics has increased exponentially due to the uptake of cycling over the past year. It's a wonderful project delivering incredible outcomes which we’re proud to be a part of. It is also a model that we hope can be replicated in other areas of London with the right support.
The Kickstart scheme has created 22,000 vacancies in London and Essex with 3,800 young people taking up roles since September 2020 and many more to come, as restrictions ease and employers welcome young people through their doors.