Norfolk youth unemployment hits record high

According to the youth charity The Prince's Trust there are now enough unemployed young people nationally to fill every football stadium in the Premier League, with almost 200,000 left queuing outside.

'If we fail to help them into work, it will have a devastating impact on young people, their families and the economy', the charity's chief executive Martina Milburn said.

Nationally more than one in five 16 to 25-year-old are struggling to find a job.

Julie Simper from Meridian East, a Norwich-based organisation offering support to jobseekers, said: 'As a result of the current economic climate young people are competing against older and much more experienced people, and so there is much less opportunity for employment for the young.

'It is particularly difficult for school leavers who have not had the opportunity to work before, but also really tough for those who have just finished college or university.'

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She said while being faced with knockbacks is obviously disheartening, it is important young people do not lose confidence in their abilities, that they continue to follow their ambitions and take every opportunity for support and advice available.

'Young people want to strike out on their own. They want to start thinking of the future but the more they apply for jobs and are unsuccessful the more that can impact on their confidence,' she said.

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'Do not lose hope. It is difficult and people tend to think it is about them but it is not. There are an awful lot of people with experience and qualifications who are in the same situation.'

The Princes Trust's East of England regional director Graham Ball, said: 'Since the recession started there are a lot more young people with good exam results that are really struggling for work whereas before it was mostly those young people who left school without qualifications seeking help.

'Young people may have all of the academic qualifications but they need to develop skills and experience to get themselves the jobs.

'They need to try to get something on their CVs that gives them something to talk about at interviews even if it is not work – some training or volunteering that will make them stand out when applying for a job.

'There is nothing worse for an employer than having a CV come in with very little on it.'

The Trust's Get Into... courses give young people the chance to develop skills in a specific sector. Currently the Trust is running one of these courses at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and plan to run one at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Get Started... programme offers short courses in sport, music and creative arts. In Norwich the Trust is working with Open Youth Venue and The Garage to provide Get Started courses giving young people an insight into dance and production work. They will also gain a qualification and three months of on-going support to help them explore other opportunities.

The Trust's Enterprise Programme helps young unemployed people work on business ideas and work out if self-employment is right for them. It can offer mentoring support and financial support.

The Trust also has a 12-week Team Programme - a personal development course to keep young people motivated and boost their confidence. It offers work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

To help young people fund access to education, training or work the Trust also has Development Awards of between �50 and �500.

BCTS (Broadland Council Training Services), based in Helledson Park Road, Norwich, is another organisation offering help to young people.

It has an Apprenticeship Programme for 16 to 18-year-olds where it arranges paid apprenticeship placements and gives the young people the chance to gain qualifications in areas such as business administration, customer service, retail, warehousing and storage and horse care.

There are also some apprenticeship opportunities for people aged 19 and above.

BCTS also has a Foundation Learning Programme which helps 16 to 18-year-olds who may have not had much experience coming out of school or who may lack confidence and social skills.

It aims to build on core skills such as maths, English and ICT as well as building on CVs, interview techniques and learning to work as part of a team. Subjects such as music, art, horse care or sports or healthy living are also covered.

Other courses BCTS offers are six-month business administration and customer service foundation learning programmes that give young people the opportunity to do work experience one day a week as well as Level One qualifications in Business Administration or Customer Service.

Pippa Bennett, recruitment and development officer at BCTS, said: 'The best advice I can give any young person looking for work is to keep active whilst looking for work which may include gaining more qualifications or taking part in voluntary work.

'This will help to build up your CV and will also show your willingness to work. There are many free courses available and there are many organisations that would be glad of volunteers.'

That is not to say that it is exclusively young people who are struggling a recent report by Saga, based on analysis of economic data carried out by the centre for economics and business research, in a survey of 10,000 over-50s, found that unemployment rates for those aged over 50 had increased by 69pc since before the recession first struck.

Long-term unemployment has also hit the over-50s hardest, with 43pc of this age group having been out of work for more than a year, compared with only 27pc of 18 to 24-year-olds.

• To contact BCTS call 01603 788 950

• For more information on The Prince's Trust visit or call 0800 842842.

• To contact Meridian East call 0300 1111450.

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