Young people face ‘big mismatch’ as they try to find work in Hartlepool, says MP

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright at the Armed Force Day march. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright at the Armed Force Day march. Picture by FRANK REID
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HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has called on Parliament for more to be done to help the town’s unemployed young people get jobs.

Iain Wright said there was a “big mismatch” between the high levels of Hartlepool young people out of work and the potential jobs on their doorstep.

It’s absolutely vital to make sure kids are aware of what might be available out there

Iain Wright MP

Mr Wright called for better guidance for youngsters at an earlier age during a debate on careers advice at the House of Commons.

Mr Wright told the Mail: “We have moved on some way in terms of improvement but it is still an issue.

“There is a big mismatch. There are potentially great numbers of fantastic jobs available in Hartlepool and the local area yet we have got these young people who can’t find work and firms that can’t find skills.

“It is about how you marry that up and give careers advice from the earliest possible age.

“I think it’s absolutely vital to make sure kids are aware of what might be available out there.”

He pointed to Hartlepool Power Station and Nissan car factory in Sunderland as potential employers.

Mr Wright said careers advice provision had suffered from cuts in funding and been increasingly broken up in the last few years.

The Connexions advice service was disbanded by the Government in 2011.

Mr Wright added: “School ministers need to prioritise career advice.

“It should be running as a thread all the way through education.

“We should be encouraging girls, even at primary school, to think about a career in science or engineering, rather than just being something 15 and 16-year-olds do for an hour on an afternoon.

“I don’t think that is the right approach.”

One project that has been credited with reducing Hartlepool’s youth unemployment figures over the last two years has been the Hartlepool Youth Investment Project (HYIP).

It was a town-wide partnership involving Hartlepool Borough Council, Hartlepool College of Further Education, Jobcentre Plus, the National Apprenticeship Service and the Thirteen Group to give young people skills and experience through apprenticeships.

The scheme was credited with driving down youth unemployment in Hartlepool from 17 per cent, or 1,405 young people aged 18 to 24, in September 2012, to 8.3 per cent – the lowest level for more than 20 years.