Bradford has been named as a national blackspot for youth unemployment in a report calling on local authorities to play a bigger role in tackling the problem.
According to The Work Foundation, the city’s 25 per cent youth unemployment rate puts it sixth in the top ten UK cities with the highest unemployment rate, excluding full-time students.
Many 16 to 24 year-olds have missed out on the economic recovery, with joblessness at crisis levels.
Housing prices and private sector rents prevent many young people from moving to growing cities where they have a better chance of finding entry level work. Lizzie Crowley, head of youth unemployment programmes at The Work Foundation, said the Government’s top-down attempts to tackle the crisis had failed She said the Government must help local authorities set up Youth Transition Partnerships to bring together schools, colleges, third sector organisations and local businesses to develop tailored policy responses.
The report, whose backers include Barclays and the Private Equity Foundation, argues that without effective, targeted action from national and local government, businesses, and educators, a generation of young people in cities like Bradford face a bleak future.
The report says: “Urgent action is needed to ensure young people get the right support to either continue in school, further training or get a job.”
In the UK youth unemployment is so endemic that even cities with the lowest rates of 13 per cent were still a third higher than the German national average.
Bradford Council’s £10 million Get Bradford Working project includes an employment opportunities fund, which gives the young jobless a paid 12-month placement carrying out work that will benefit the community. Last week the Government awarded the scheme an extra £1,038,000 million so it can help more out-of-work 18 to 24-year-olds.
The fund, set up to create about 400 temporary jobs that would enable people to gain skills and experience, has been extended to offer 650 jobs.
Bradford also has a project, E3, which co-ordinates closer working between schools and businesses.
Its chairman, Paul Mackie, said this kind of work was “very, very important” in helping to bring down youth unemployment.
But he said the challenge was building a sustainable model involving schools, businesses and local authorities which didn’t rely on lots of public funding.
He said: “How do you make it relevant to both schools and businesses and how do you make it sustainable in terms of funding? I don’t think the answer has been found yet.”