Youngsters' job stats not good
NEW figures have revealed Swindon’s number of young people not in employment or training is almost double the national average.
The NEET rate (not in employment, education or training) for 18 to 24-year-olds in Swindon has dramatically increased from 10.3 per cent in June 2012 to 15.5 per cent in June 2013. The current 18-24 NEET rate also compares unfavourably to the national average, which was 8.3 per cent in June 2013 and the southwest average of 8.6 per cent.
These figures came to light during the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Coun Cindy Matthews, the Labour’s shadow lead for children’s services, said the findings were disappointing and called for more money to be spent on apprenticeships.
She said: “Clearly these figures are disappointing and it is not a good start in life for our young people. “With a town that has a higher than average number of jobs within it, these figures show that there are not enough training, work experience and apprenticeship opportunities in Swindon.
“The problem at the moment is that Swindon’s schools and colleges are doing well in ensuring 16 and 17-year-olds stay in education or training, however when they finish education or training at 18 our young people are not getting any opportunities to start future careers. “This has to be rectified as soon as possible and Swindon Council should be working with the private sector and Job Centre Plus in Swindon to give these young people opportunities for employment and training.”
At the council’s last budget round, Labour had proposed to reallocate money currently going towards consultants and using it to encourage more employers to create apprenticeship opportunities.
“This was rejected by the Conservative administration and the Liberal Democrats, but we would still welcome more money being reallocated for apprenticeships,” said Coun Matthews.
Last Thursday jobseekers were queuing around the block to attend a job fair in Old Town organised by TCV Employment. The fair, which had around 250 people at it, was being run using a scheme called Pledge2Work. It seeks to get employers to commit to providing work placements.
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