Norwich for Jobs campaign calls for experts to help cut youth unemployment

Dick Palmer, Andrew Barnes, Chloe Smith MP, Julia Nix and Nigel Pickover at the launch of the Norwic

Dick Palmer, Andrew Barnes, Chloe Smith MP, Julia Nix and Nigel Pickover at the launch of the Norwich For Jobs initiative supported by local businesses, education groups and job support services.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Simon Finlay

<NEEDS NFJ LOGO> A jobs campaign hopes to learn from the experts as it works to dramatically cut youth unemployment in the Norwich area.

Norwich For Jobs is organising a seminar with key county figures and organisations to help it better understand how to support hard-to-reach young people who face particular barriers to finding work.

Representatives of the YMCA, probation service and Blue Cat Initiative are among those set to attend and campaign organisers hope they will also bring along some of the youngsters they work with to share first-hand stories of their job searches.

A second meeting will also take place with experts in enterprise – including City College Norwich, the Federation of Small Businesses, and The Prince's Trust – to discuss the best ways to encourage young people to start up their own business.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North and head of the NFJ steering group, said: 'We have always know that there is so much good work going on already in Norfolk. We're not in the business of trying to replicate that. We are trying to amplify that. This is a case of the campaign learning from the experts to identify ways the campaign team can make an additional contribution.'

Launched three months ago, Norwich For Jobs has now attracted pledges of support from 32 Norfolk employers.

Between them they have committed a staggering 239 jobs, 111 apprenticeships, 141 work experience placements and 40 sector-based work academies that they will consider 18 to 24-year-old jobseekers for.

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The campaign has also seen Norwich young people successfully secure 53 jobs, 11 apprenticeships and 38 work placements since it began earlier this year.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North and head of the NFJ steering group, said: 'This month's figures show that Norwich For Jobs is up and running and bringing in results. After our first three months, we are seeing a lot of opportunities created by local business in response to the project's call. These results already show success across many different sectors and what I want to do next is target the campaign onto those sectors where there may be even more opportunities.'


The latest youth unemployment figures will be released in just over a week. Last month, based on a count taken in March, there were a total of 1,995 18 to 24 year olds claiming jobseekers' allowance in the Norwich area.

Miss Smith said she hoped the next set of statistics would begin to show employers' support of Norwich For Jobs making an impact.

She said: 'We've been very clear all along that we are willing to be held to account for what the project is trying to do. There is a time lag where the opportunities we are helping to generate need to be filled and need to go to a person to get into work. There was never going to be an immediate pull through.'

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