Jobs boost for Gloucestershire's unemployed
AN £800,000 lifeline was thrown to some of the growing army of unemployed youngsters in Gloucestershire yesterday.
The Government agreed to fund the creation of 130 new jobs in the county specifically for young people.
They will be offered jobs in various sectors including community work, support work, healthcare, administration, leisure and tourism.
The successful bid was made by Gloucestershire First – the private-public partnership responsible for driving the county's economy.
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Yesterday Prime Minister Gordon Brown told union members at the Trades Union Congress: "We will not allow a new generation of young people to become a lost generation. We won't let that happen – never again."
Alarm is mounting over the increasing number of young people unable to find work.
A quarter of all those claiming unemployment benefit in Gloucestershire are now aged 18-24 – some 3,000 people.
Many of those are Neets – youngsters who are not in education, employment or training.
Yesterday's announcement was welcomed by business leaders in the county.
David Owen, chief executive of Gloucestershire First, described the news as a shot in the arm for the county.
"Our share of the fund will mean a brighter future for 130 young people in Gloucestershire."
He added he had not yet received details of the final figure but expected it to be about £800,000.
"The fund will enable us to concentrate on the county's unemployment hotspots and the most deprived communities, where there is greatest need.
"I hope that our 18 to 24-year-olds will grasp this pathway to a brighter future by obtaining work in those areas which are of interest to them and hold out the prospect of a long-term career.
"Nationally the fund has been tasked with creating 150,000 new jobs including apprenticeships and we are delighted that our bid has been successful.
"It follows closely on the heels of securing £500,000 in response-to- redundancy funds from the European Social Fund and the £5 million initiative, Gloucester Works, which is now being used to reduce long-term unemployment in Gloucester."
He added: "Locally we have had a very positive response from employers in the private and public sectors, who have come forward with job offers."
Gloucestershire College principal Greg Smith said: "This is great news for Gloucestershire.
"We have a low Neets population but things are starting to get difficult for youngsters. Any funding to help alleviate the problem is good news."
The funding will come from the Government's Future Jobs Fund. Yesterday it also announced it was creating 2,000 sports jobs in such areas as coaching football, swimming and tennis.