Youth jobs campaign launched to save ‘lost generation’ in Norwich

Chloe Smith MP launches the Norwich For Jobs initiative supported by local businesses, education gro

Chloe Smith MP launches the Norwich For Jobs initiative supported by local businesses, education groups and job support services and presents the first businesses with their support certificates to( l to r) Julia Wattling from NNUH, Mike Thompson from May Gurney, Chris Walker from Marks and Spencer, Jenni King from Heatrae Sadia, Davina Tanner from Chapelfield, Andrew Barnes from Howes Percival and Chris Paul from Serco. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Simon Finlay

A major campaign aiming to slash in half the number of young people out of work in Norwich was launched this morning.

The Norwich for Jobs initiative, backed by the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, was unveiled by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith at Chapelfield shopping centre, with a call for businesses to think creatively about opportunities they can offer for young people.

By the end of 2015, the campaign hopes to find jobs for half of the 2,000-plus young people currently out of work in and around Norwich.

Addressing a 130-strong crowd business leaders, Miss Smith said: 'We would like you to consider that we have great talent in Norwich's young people that is available to you.

'My ask to the many key partners who already do such excellent work is do what you can to help us amplify it. Together we can encourage and connect both our efforts on this common goal.

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Johnny Hustler, managing director of Archant Anglia, called on businesses to make available opportunities to prevent young jobseekers' 'flames of ambition' being extinguished by frustration.

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Davina Tanner, general manager of Chapelfield, also explained that the shopping centre had already pledged to take on apprentices in several areas, and hoped other shops and businesses would follow suit.

Twenty-two-year-old Henry Carruthers, a member of the campaign's youth panel, explained the hurdles facing young people entering the jobs market and said it was 'a real inspiration' to see so many people willing to address the 'stagnant blight' of unemployment among his peers.

'The obvious collective concern regarding youth unemployment in Norwich today, while reassuring, is clear indication this is a subject that should not be treated lightly,' he said.

'In the most extreme scenario an entire generation may be written off.

'I don't want to preach that young people need charity – they don't. As a group we have a huge amount to offer.'

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