How lost jobs hit hopes of young in Nottingham
A LACK of basic labour jobs has been blamed for a surge in the number of young Notts people out of work for more than a year.
Although overall youth joblessness is falling, figures show that last month 930 18 to 24-year-olds had been claiming job seekers' allowance in the city for more than 12 months. This is 520 more than the same figure from a year ago.
Trevor Fothergill, a director of Educational Wellbeing, Lenton, which tries to get qualifications and jobs for young people excluded from mainstream schools, said the city was suffering from the demise of manufacturing.
He said: "Employers are cherry-picking the best candidates now and they have a right to do that.
"But there are a marginalised group of people who want to work but who don't have qualifications, but who do want labouring work. Years back, if you didn't do well in school in Nottingham, you could get a job at Raleigh with basically no qualifications.
"You could get manual work without grades. That doesn't really exist any more and that was the crucial safety net."
The Raleigh factory in Triumph Road stopped making cycles in 2002, ending 114 years of bicycle-making in the city and taking about 280 jobs with it, although the firm still designs bikes at its Eastwood base, employing about 150.
Nottingham City Council said that overall, the number of unemployed 18-24-year-olds had fallen by 7.6 per cent across Nottingham to 4,055, compared with 4,390 a year ago.
But the authority added that the number of young people out of work for longer was of "great concern". The council is running schemes to tackle joblessness and is ploughing £2 million into the Nottingham Jobs Fund, which will create 400 jobs by March 2014.
John Dowson, head of policy and representation at Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said not enough companies were taking on large numbers of new employees.
He said: "It's a competitive jobs market for unemployed young people.
"Our surveys show local firms remain positive about the future but many are only planning to grow by five or more employees.
"There are fewer larger job increases happening.
"The chamber is doing a fair bit to try to help – we work to encourage businesses to take on new apprentices."
David Kirkham, director of Nottingham and Notts Employment and Skills Board, said a flood of more qualified young people trying to find work was also causing a problem.
The board builds relationships between schools and businesses.
Mr Kirkham said: "I think we still have a very difficult economic situation and even though the job seekers' allowance rate has steadily gone down, we still have relatively high levels of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming.
"Those that are further away from the jobs market are in a sense facing more competition.
"For example, you have more graduates moving on to job seekers' allowance and not in to work, therefore it becomes a much more competitive environment.
"But there is work going on out there. We are aware of thousands of vacancies on a monthly basis that are not necessarily filled.
"We need to ensure young people know where to go to find a job and what that job entails.
"We're aware of certain sectors where there will be huge demand for new entrants, such as engineering, which has an ageing workforce and has historically been very important to Notts."