Fresh hope for jobless youths

editorial image

Sheffield is winning the war against mass youth unemployment, according to new Government statistics.

The Department for Work and Pensions has revealed the number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in the city has dropped dramatically in the past year.

Figures show claimant numbers have fallen 12 per cent, or 665 young people, compared with 2012.

Sheffield was placed seventh in a table of the top 10 local authorities which have seen the biggest drops in young JSA claimants.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “We launched the Youth Contract, which is a combination of work experience, extra support from Jobcentre Plus and wage incentives, to help employers give young people a chance.

“It’s therefore encouraging to see that despite tough economic times we have seen a fall in the number of young people in Sheffield claiming JSA over the past year.”

Sheffield Council has welcomed the news as a step in the right direction, but believes more work needs to be done to support people in poorer areas.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “While we welcome any reductions in youth unemployment, the figures show that the numbers have fallen three times faster in many of the country’s wealthiest areas. Youth unemployment nationally has hardly reduced since 2010, with record numbers of young people out of work over the last three years.”

Last year the council teamed up with The Star in the Apprentice Challenge, which encourages local businesses to take on 16 to 18-year-olds by providing training and part-subsidising their wage for up to two years. So far it has helped almost 100 youths into work.

Coun Bramall added: “The council has committed its own funding to schemes and other apprenticeship schemes, but the Government needs to act now to address this serious problem.”