Long-term jobless need new hope

First published in Our View by

Solutions must be found to tackle the alarming increase in long-term unemployment among 18 to 24-year-olds in the Bradford district.

A three-fold rise in two years points to major failings in the Government policies in place to get young people working.

Many of the young jobless say they are in a classic ‘Catch 22’ situation whereby they are turned down for jobs because of their inexperience but cannot get that experience without one.

Employers need to be able to do more to offer a way into their industries, be it through closer working with schools and colleges to ensure students are entering the world of work with the right skills and qualifications, or by directly providing that training and experience through more apprenticeship and trainee programmes.

As Bradford Council leader David Green says there needs to be an urgent re-think to draw up a specific local solution as the Government’s national work programme is clearly not working for Bradford.

A failure to act quickly and decisively will cause real long-term damage to the district’s economy which needs a dynamic and skilled workforce to compete both nationally and, increasingly, internationally for business.

And let’s not forget the impact on the young jobless people themselves.

Long-term unemployment at the very first stage of working life creates many problems from destroying self-worth to developing a new generation who are dependent on the very benefits the Government is so determined to reduce.

It is in all our interests to ensure the tide is turned.

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