A NEW employers' forum is being set-up in the district which could provide life-changing opportunities for young people.

The initiative will offer support to businesses so they can provide work experience and jobs to youngsters with additional needs, such as autism.

Behind the venture is Bradford Council’s SkillsHouse, working in partnership with the Leeds-based Lighthouse Futures Trust.

A similar forum established by the trust is already successfully operating in Leeds.

Businesses in Keighley and across the district interested in being involved in the roll-out of the project to this area are invited to attend a free launch event at City Hall, Bradford, on June 26.

Sue Webster, employer engagement officer for SkillsHouse, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Lighthouse Futures Trust to launch the Bradford forum.

"We’ve already seen some brilliant successes in our region with businesses offering internships and work experience for young people.

"We want to build on this by working with businesses which are committed to having an inclusive workforce.

"Creating these opportunities can be life-changing for young people who have additional needs."

Katie Parlett, chief executive officer of the Lighthouse Futures Trust, hoped the success of the Leeds scheme could be replicated in Bradford.

"Our forum in Leeds provides a space for employers to come together and share their experiences, ask questions and learn how they can create a more diverse and inclusive working environment," she said.

"Members say this has really helped them develop greater confidence in this area and understand how they can easily remove barriers to employing more young people with support needs."

Councillor Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, says the forum is a "fantastic" initiative.

"We’re pleased to be working with the trust to launch the forum in our district," he added.

"It will help us create an inclusive business environment that can support young people who may have additional needs but who also have unique skills they can offer to employers."

Businesses interested in attending the launch event can get further details by visiting eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-of-bradford-supported-employers-forum-tickets-59042694288 or calling Sue Webster on 01274 432605.