Is Hartlepool winning the war on youth unemployment?

The Hartlepool Job Centre Plus building. Picture by FRANK REID. IRN
The Hartlepool Job Centre Plus building. Picture by FRANK REID. IRN

REGENERATION bosses say a project aimed at slashing youth unemployment figures in Hartlepool is proving a success - but insist there is still a lot of work to do.

Hartlepool has the highest youth unemployment rate in England and the highest level of long-term youth unemployment, over six months, at five per cent - which accounts for 410 young people aged 18 to 24 years.

Hartlepool Borough Council started the Hartlepool Youth Investment Project (HYIP) when youth unemployment was 17 per cent - or 1,405 of young people aged between 18 and 24 - back in September 2012.

That figure has since dropped to 12.7 per cent, or 1,050 young people.

While regeneration officers say the creation of the HYIP has been a major success, they admit they still have “key challenges” to overcome.

Councillors will meet next week to discuss the ongoing work.

It comes as the Mail is launching our new Jobs Special which will feature more than 100 jobs every Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting, Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “At a time when young people remain the most disadvantaged cohort within the labour market, the establishment of the HYIP can be seen as a major success for the borough.

“Through a co-ordinated approach, the council and its partners have managed to reduce the youth unemployment rate since the project commenced in September 2013.”

Mr Wilson added: “There have already been substantial activities delivered through the HYIP, which will help prepare young people for the world of work and move them into a positive outcome.

“As tackling youth unemployment is an ongoing process, the council will continue to work with young people, partners and the business community - all of which are our greatest assets in successfully delivering the project.”

The council’s children’s services committee will meet today at 4pm at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.