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Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council: Inclusive entry-level positions

Barnsley Council’s ‘inclusive offer’ creates opportunities for young people who need extra support to benefit from work.

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Barnsley Council’s ‘inclusive offer’ originally aimed to convert 20 entry-level positions into ringfenced 12-month paid work experience placements. The council works with various local partners and services (such as Jobcentre Plus and Future Directions CIC) to refer young people with barriers to employment.  

The scheme supports:  

  • care leavers 
  • adults and young people with learning difficulties or disabilities 
  • young people who have been through the Youth Justice System, and 
  • people aged 16 to 19 who aren’t in education, employment or training 

Teams looking to recruit to entry-level positions are also encouraged to use the ‘inclusive offer’ to recruit. 

The challenge

Young people from diverse backgrounds can face significantly more barriers to employment and education than their peers. They may not have the skills, experience or qualifications required to move on in work and may need extra support to achieve.  

Entry-level positions often ask for extensive experience and/or qualifications which most young people do not have, resulting in a huge barrier to potential.

The solution

Inclusive opportunities, with additional wraparound support and qualifications, provide the chance for young people to earn and learn. The aim of the ‘inclusive offer’ is for young people to progress into permanent employment either at the council or externally.

The impact

Barnsley Council has so far created 64 different 12-month paid work experience opportunities, with the following successes: 

  • 70% of young people transitioned into positive destinations including full-time employment, university, or other training. 
  • The remaining 30% of leavers continue to access wraparound support from the council’s lead pastoral mentor to seek further opportunities.  
  • 48% of those young people who transitioned into employment remained at Barnsley Council on either a permanent role or an apprenticeship. 
  • 73% of young people also undertook at least one qualification whilst on placement at Barnsley Council (such as level 2 maths and English, digital skills, employability skills and first aid).  

How is the new approach being sustained?

The council’s executive director initially pledged to convert 20 entry-level positions into the inclusive offer. This showed that the council had senior level buy-in to create inclusive offer opportunities within services and teams.  

Lessons learned

The inclusive offer team gathers feedback from those involved with the programme and is always looking at ways to improve based on the feedback. Some examples include:  

  • improving how the council onboards young people so that they are well-supported from the first point of contact to their first day on the job 
  • minimising manager workload by completing pre-employment checks and interviews on their behalf 

‘Inclusive offer’ feedback

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I discovered so many things I was interested in. I took every chance I could to learn something new and get as much experience as possible. After working with a team and learning so many new communication skills, I’m ready to take on more responsibilities and push myself further.

Thanks to getting some hands-on experience, I feel so much better about applying for jobs. My skillset has grown, and I have more confidence to put myself there. I used to be nervous when presenting or speaking in an interview; now I can do it with no problems.

One of the barriers I always faced when looking for a job is experience. I didn’t have much. I’m glad I took this opportunity because it has allowed me to gain more skills. Now I can give examples of the work I’ve actually done in interviews, which gives me more confidence when applying for the jobs I want.

Further information