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Caerphilly’s youth jobless rate almost double UK average

Published in News at 11:00, Friday April 4th, 2014. Last updated at 12:06, Wednesday April 9th, 2014

By Gareth Hill

HELP US: Young people are struggling to find long-term employment. Picture by Helen Cobain

HELP US: Young people are struggling to find long-term employment. Picture by Helen Cobain

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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  • Dave O

    In my view, if there are no permanent jobs locally then people should commute further or consider moving away. This is often easier for young people who are less likely to be tied down by other commitments.

    I also don't believe it is the role of government to provide jobs. If a business cannot make profit then it has no right to exist.

  • Trefor Bond

    When young people are forced to move from their homes, to other places, to chase jobs it brings with it other obstacles to making a living, which is what working and earning a wage is all about. The biggest problem of course when young people have to move to chase employment is accommodation in the place they have to move to.

    And only those people with their heads buried in the ground thinks that it is a simple task to up roots, get on a train or a bus, and `move away` as is suggested by Dave O, homelessness is already a problem everywhere in the country, particularly for youngsters, it is a real problem in the Caerphilly borough but is being hidden by those who can `sofa surf`, sleep in local churches, (under a recent scheme by combined local churches) or, sleep in local shop doorways, as a result the problem is largely kept away and out of sight from the public in the borough, but, be sure there is a serious underclass of young people which the Caerphilly Borough Council do not consider for housing in the real sense of the word.

    So, it is not as simple a solution to the unemployment problem suffered by young people in Wales ( and elsewhere) to say they should `move away`, that suggestion for young people with families dispersed throughout the Country may be a option, and they would be few and far between, parents of youngster who themselves also live in poverty in Wales cannot afford to support such moves.

    What is needed is more Government help get youngsters into work or paid training, more help ( From the taxes that everyone pays) to employers to create such training places, more help to colleges to create paid training places for employment roles which may already exist but remain difficult to fill in the employment market. Such training would enthuse youngsters who have never worked, to get off their backsides and sell themselves as industrious, trained, team players, who most employers would be encouraged and eager to employ, what is the good of simply `moving away` without the proper personal tools to sell themselves to a prospective employer in an area, probably alien to them?.