Hartlepool praised after dramatic fall in youth unemployment

Gill Alexander. Picture by FRANK REID
Gill Alexander. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool has been highlighted as a national leader in good practice in reducing youth unemployment.

The jobless number of young people in the town has dropped from 17.4% in 2012 to the current 3.3%, the biggest reduction over the same period in the country.

Coun Kevin Cranney

Coun Kevin Cranney

The various projects contributing to the fall were outlined in a keynote address by Hartlepool Borough Council Chief Executive Gill Alexander and Councillor Kevin Cranney, Chair of the Council’s Regeneration Services Committee.

They spoke at a recent national conference in London titled ‘Supporting Young People into Employment’.

The projects that have been hailed as bringing about the dramatic results include the Youth Employment Project which was launched by Hartlepool Borough Council four years ago when youth employment was the highest in the county.

It has promoted improved partnership working between schools, colleges, businesses, the Council, specialist training providers with a focus on work placements, volunteering and apprenticeships.

Council chiefs also talked about the Hartlepool Education Commission which was set-up in 2014 to improve education and attainment with schools across Tees Valley working together, investment in infrastructure and workforce development.

The £19.2m Youth Employment Initiative, the biggest European Funded bproject in the Tees Valley, is supporting nearly 7000 young people, aged 15 to 29, get back into education, employment or training.

Councillor Cranney said it was great for the town to be invited to speak at the conference.

He said: “It is testimony to all the very positive and innovative work in Hartlepool that we were invited onto to the national stage to highlight our success in reducing the number of young people without a job.

“Of course, there is no room for complacency but we are making great strides in times of great hardship and financial constraints and look to even more improvement in future.”

Chief executive Gill Alexander added: “It is a collaborative effort and I must pay tribute to our staff and all of our partners and agencies who have worked and continue to work so tirelessly for the benefit of our young people.

“It is excellent that we have all been recognised as examples of good practice in coming together in a bid to reduce youth unemployment.”

Delegates at the conference included representatives from local authorities, colleges, employment services and the Government.