The Canal & River Trust has secured funding worth about £250,000 from the Cabinet Office to deliver two youth engagement programmes.
The trust joined other charities, including the RSPB, to form a consortium to win the government funding as part of its plan to get young people more involved with the waterways.
The first project, funded through the Cabinet Office’s Youth Social Action Journey Fund and led by the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, will be used to employ four young people as full-time facilitators to work on "action squads’ along the canal network.
The facilitators will work alongside the trust’s volunteering teams and will recruit and support other young people to form action squads along the waterways.
The work they do will depend on what is needed, but is expected to include clearing vegetation, improving wildlife habitats and removing graffiti.
Six other young facilitators will work with other organisations in the consortium and their wages will be paid by the NCVYS, accounting for the majority of the funding the trust will receive.
The trust has also secured £68,000 from the Cabinet Office’s Vulnerable and Disengaged Young People’s Fund as part of a second consortium led by vInspired.
In this year-long project, two groups of 15 young people will work with the trust four days a week for six months each on the Central Shires Waterways.
The young people will take part in social action activities, the trust said, which will count towards a Level 2 accredited City & Guilds qualification in conservation.
The trust was previously a quango, British Waterways, before it was transformed into a charity in July 2012. It had an income of £122m in the nine months to March 2013.
"The trust’s aim is to increase the number of young people engaging with the waterways," said Lucie Unsworth, national youth engagement manager at the trust. "Together the projects will attract many scores of young people to join us over the next year and, we hope, beyond."