Ipswich: Concern as youth unemployment continues to grow

EMPLOYMENT prospects for young people in Ipswich have significantly worsened, a new report has revealed.

The study by Ambitious Minds found that the town was eighth out of 47 local authorities in the east in terms of youth unemployment – and the volume of jobless young people is growing at an alarming rate.

Five years ago, the unemployment rate of those aged between 16 and 24 in Ipswich was 4.6 per cent – that figure now stands at 8.1pc. In Cambridge the rate is just 1.4pc.

Borough council leader David Ellesmere said young people faced a tough challenge to find work.

“It will require the government to do something to make a major impact on the problem,” he said.

“A high amount of job cuts in the public sector have had a big effect on the town.

“I feel very sorry for young people when they are stigmatised as lazy and not prepared to get off their backsides and find work.

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“But in reality the jobs aren’t out there and the council is trying to take steps to counter that.”

According to the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce there are currently 1,600 young people in the county aged between 16 and 18 who are not involved in any form of education, training or work. Meanwhile, there are more than 4,000 unemployed 18-24-year-olds.

Jaine Bolton, from the National Apprenticeship Service, said there has never been a better time to choose apprenticeships.

“Encouraging apprenticeships is absolutely vital in equipping young people with skills they need for the future,” Ms Bolton said.

The Ambitious Minds report revealed Ipswich had the 65th highest youth unemployment rate in Great Britain out of 380 authorities.

Sean McGuire, chief executive of Ambitious Minds, said: “Those areas which have suffered disproportionately in the last five years need support to prevent unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, becoming normalised.”

What do you think? We askled four young job hunters, pictured, their views.

Rachael Johnson, 19, of Ipswich

“It’s been a very difficult time to get work unless you’ve got experience at something relevant.

“I’ve been looking at the Job Centre, job websites, and classifieds in The Star.”

Sebastian Owen, 22, from Ipswich

“There’s nowhere near enough jobs for everyone. I’ve applied for about 70 in the last 12 months and got nothing but part-time work – and that doesn’t pay the bills.

Sigourney Gilardi, 20, of Ipswich

“It’s definitely harder now than when we left school.

“We’re trying to find a job but we can’t. I’ve been in and out of part-time work, but it just doesn’t pay the bills.”

Steven Jones, 20, of Ipswich

“They always say you must have previous experience, that’s OK if you’re 40, but we’re young and willing to learn.

“I even phone up prospective employers for any job and tell them I don’t have the experience but would like to get in and learn, and they’re not interested.”