Hartlepool sees drop in number of unemployed young people as town continues to improve

Hartlepool has seen a decrease in the number of young people not taking part in education or employment after secondary school.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Monday, 9th September 2019, 4:25 pm
Hartlepool Civic Centre

It came as Hartlepool Borough Council Children’s Services Committee received updated figures on the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), and those whose status is not known by the local authority.

The percentage of young people in academic years 12 and 13 not in education, employment or training was 3% for 2018/19, down from 3.3% in 2017/18 and 3.5% the previous year.

This is below the Tees Valley average of 3.8% and the North East average of 4.2%, but above the national average of 2.6%.

The figures are in stark contrast to the situation in previous years. In 2013, the Mail reported how the town had the second-highest rate of youth unemployment in the country with 1,225 – around 14.6% – of 18-24 year olds unemployed.

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The rate was more than double the national average, prompting council chiefs to make reducing the number of young people in that situation a top priority.

Zoe McKenna, council youth education and pathways lead, said: “Hartlepool has seen a further decrease in the number of young people both NEET and not known.

“We have seen an increase in the number of young people meeting the duty to participate in education, employment and training.

“The performance in relation to NEET can only be evidenced by taking into consideration those that are not known, again you can see Hartlepool has made a significant achievement nationally, and we’ve got just 0.1%.”

However the percentage of young people whose status was not known and not able to be contacted by the local authority, was just 0.1% in Hartlepool for 2018/19, down from 0.3% and 1% in previous years.

This is compared to 1% in the Tees Valley and 2.9% nationally, which council officers said puts Hartlepool in a good position compared to others.

Figures also showed of those progressing to work or further studies post-16, 5.6% are going on to do apprenticeships, compared to 7.8% and 6.4% in previous years.

Council chiefs said this coincided with an increase of people going onto to full time education and training looking towards university, which rose to 89.1% from 85.2% and 88.8% in recent years.

Coun Sue Little said she hopes to see an increase in the number of young people taking part in apprenticeships in the future, adding they have several benefits.

She said: “Apprenticeships are a good way of learning and I hope we’ll see more apprenticeships next year and the number increase.

“Not everyone is cut out to go to university and get £60,000 worth of debt, which I think is an awful awful lot of money and god knows if they will get the debt paid off.”

Figures have also revealed reasons behind why some young people are not in employment education or training.

In January 2019, three were not registered because they were young carers, six were teen parents, eight were not taking part due to illness and three due to pregnancy.

In comparison in January 2018 there was two registered as young carers, 12 teen parents, eight suffering with illness, three due to pregnancy and seven for other reasons.