Caerphilly’s youth jobless rate almost double UK average
The number of jobless youngsters in Caerphilly County Borough is almost double the national average, latest government figures have revealed.
Although statistics show youth unemployment in the area is falling, more still needs to be done to address the problem, according to youngsters in the county borough.
At the end of February this year, around 1,500 youngsters aged between 18 and 24 were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. The jobless rate for the age group stands at 9.9% – almost double the UK average of 5.2% and higher than the Welsh average of 6.6%.
The number of jobless youngsters is falling, from 15% in February 2012 to 13.2% in 2013 and 9.9% this year.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Youth Forum, which represents the views of youngsters, has said more needed to be done.
Youth Forum Chair Joel Price, 17, said: “Youth unemployment is falling but not fast enough and zero hour contracts need to go, I believe they’re exploiting young people.
“We need to work together to ensure young people get what they need to find a job, to get into employment and start a life for themselves.”
Kyle Boulton, 21, from Crumlin, who has been in-and-out of work for several years, said not enough was being done to get young people into long-term employment.
He said: “They say there are courses, but unless you’ve got an employer to give you a job afterwards they won’t put you on one. You end up going through agencies, often on zero hour contracts.
“If agencies do get you full-time work, when the time comes for an official contract they lay you off and find someone else.
“Everything around here is going up in price and, when we have a job, our wages are going down.
“We need secure jobs. They should scrap agencies and get firms to take you on with fixed contracts.”
Caerphilly’s Youth Champion, Plaid Cymru councillor Mike Prew, said local companies should be surveyed to find out the skills needed to fill the jobs that are available.
He added: “We seem to be concentrating on certain sectors. We should get local businesses to come forward and say what they want so young people have something to go into after training.”
Jeff Cuthbert, Caerphilly’s Labour AM and Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, pointed to the Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales scheme as evidence that youth unemployment was being addressed.
The scheme, which receives half its funding from the European Union, offers six months paid work for young people.
Mr Cuthbert said: “Jobs Growth Wales has been the most successful youth employment scheme in Europe because of its unique design.
“It is a limited scheme that depends on businesses taking part, but it has been extended for a year because it has been so successful.”
Since it began in April 2012, more than 30,000 youngsters have submitted 150,000 applications for 11,000 jobs.
Around 8,700 have found jobs for at least the six-month period. Eighty percent employed in the private sector with the scheme have gone onto sustained employment, an apprenticeship or further learning.
In the local public sector, Caerphilly County Borough Council has created more than 700 jobs under the scheme, and has also been running its own Passport Programme – aimed at reducing youth unemployment.
The year-old programme has helped 143 young people gain employment.
The council has claimed it is partly responsible for lowering the number of young people in the borough on Job Seeker’s Allowance by 11%.
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