Town’s young jobless plight

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HARTLEPOOL has the second highest proportion of young people on the dole queue in the country.

Last month 1,345 people aged between 18 and 24 in Hartlepool claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is the town’s highest level of unemployment in the age group since September 1996 when it stood at 1,390.

The figure accounts for 16 per cent of people in that age group in the town, which is more than double the 7.3 percent national average and significantly higher than the North-East average of 9.9 per cent.

The Easington district has the fourth highest level nationwide, with 1,285 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in that age group, which accounts for 14.8 per cent, and the Sedgefield district is 24th in the nationwide table with 855 people aged 18 to 25 claiming the benefit, which is 12 per cent.

The Stockton borough, which includes Billingham and Wolviston, had 2.060 young people claiming the benefit, which was 11.4 per cent of the age group.

Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council are working with Hartlepool College of Further Education on a strategy to help school-leavers get jobs through apprenticeship schemes.

The council is also working with the Teesside Local Enterprise Partnership is improve the situation for jobseekers and get new firms into the town to create more jobs.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “It shows what a difficult position the town is in and how difficult it is for people in that age group to find a job.

“It is something we are acutely aware of.

“There is not much out there. Schemes like the Future Jobs Fund helped people get into work, albeit temporarily.

“The problem is that we get the likes of Garlands closing last year because that affected that age group hugely because a log of the workers were around that age.”

Mayor Drummond added: “The local authority and Hartlepool College of Further Education are working together to create more apprenticeships to get school-leavers into potential employment.

“Through the local enterprise partnership we are looking for local businesses to recruit more people and create apprenticeships and introduce a number of businesses in the area and create those jobs.

“With these public sector cuts that are happening, they say the private sector will take up the slack, but we need support in the meantime and bridging to get over it.”