Jobs woe for out of work youth

YOUNG people in Hucknall and the rest of Ashfield are increasingly struggling to find work — with one in ten 18-to-24-year-olds now unemployed.

Politicians have pledged to do more, including the deputy leader of Ashfield District Council, Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall. But they say the government urgently needs to step in.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that 11.3% of young people are now claiming unemployment benefit — a figure that has climbed by more than two per cent over the past year.

It equates to 1,120 local people aged 18 to 24 claiming jobseeker’s allowance, and is more than four per cent above the East Midlands regional average.

Last week local young people spoke to Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions Liam Byrne and Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero about the issue. The Labour duo stopped by at Connexions on Morley Street, Kirkby.

They were joined by Coun Wilmott, who said Ashfield council had made efforts to tackle joblessness, but that the coalition government needed to provide more cash for schemes such as apprenticeships.

“We met some people who had degrees who had not got a job since being awarded them,” said Coun Wilmott.

“These people are our future and it’s important we talk to the government to see if it will provide funding to involve businesses and help give young people a chance.”

Last week Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the government planned “additional measures to support growth and create employment opportunities, especially for young people”.

In Bulwell, which is part of the Nottingham North constituency, the town’s Labour MP, Graham Allen, echoed calls for the coalition government to take more action.

In Nottingham, 4.285 young people aged between 16 and 24 are claiming jobseeker’s allowance, which translates to 6.2% — a figure that has risen by more than one per cent in the last year.

Mr Allen said: “The coalition government’s policies are hitting the youth of Nottingham hard. These figures are simply not good enough and the government must do more to create jobs for young people.

“We cannot let a generation of talent in Bulwell and Nottingham go to waste.”

But when stretched out to the rest of the area’s population, the outlook for employment is even more bleak.

For more than 12% of the active population, aged from 16-to-64, are classed as out of work when the number of those claiming jobseeker’s allowance is used as the barometer.

It is one of the top 20 of the country’s 650 constituencies for unemployment.

Mr Allen says the tough jobs climate is even more acute for black and ethnic residents.