PLANS to create an intermediate labour market in west Southampton will be presented to regeneration bosses during a meeting tonight.

The £248,500 two-year pilot scheme to be run by the Wheatsheaf Trust in conjunction with Southampton City Council housing department will help equip unemployed people in the Outer Shirley area with skills to apply for jobs in the building craft and environmental improvement industries.

At least six jobless people a year in the Outer Shirley area - which includes Millbrook, Maybush, Redbridge, and Shirley Warren - will be able to take part in a continuous programme of training and work experience to enable them to enhance their CV and apply for paid jobs.

Those that take part in the innovative scheme will be taught skills to allow them to eventually take four generic NVQ units and the Craft Skills Certification Scheme - the minimum standard qualification for entry into the building industry.

The pilot project will also enhance and update the qualifications of those with previous training.

An alarming 18.5 per cent of people aged over 25 living in the Outer Shirley area have been unemployed for six months or more, compared to 12.2 per cent of people in Southampton as a whole.

Furniture giants Ikea have also teamed up with the Outer Shirley Regeneration Programme to create a training programme to get locals equipped to apply for jobs at their new Millbrook store set to open next year.

Tonight's Outer Shirley Regeneration Board meeting is being held at the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Health Authority offices in Oakley Road, Millbrook, from 7pm.