YOUTH unemployment in South Holland has reached a two-year high as young people bear the brunt of tough economic times.
It is claimed that part of the problem is young jobseekers are struggling to compete with experienced workers who are forced to look for lower grade jobs after being made redundant. But is also argued that young people are reluctant to take what are seen as “dead end jobs” in the food industry which dominates the district.
And it is not just unskilled school leavers who are being forced to turn to the state for help, with an increasing growing number of graduates returning home from university finding themselves on the dole.
The situation is not being helped by cuts to careers advice services in the county, leaving many young people in this area relying on a telephone support line based in Lincoln.
Latest figures show more than 500 18-24 year olds in South Holland were claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in September – which is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true scale of the unemployment problem.
The figure is at the same level as September 2009, and if the upward trend seen throughout 2011 so far is anything to go by, the problem could get even worse.
The figures have caused great consternation in South Holland, with one Spalding headteacher saying: “It’s a very difficult time to be a young person.”
And Nigel Burch, economic development officer at South Holland District Council, said: “The latest figures are definitely a concern.”
One graduate claims more needs to be done to help those in her situation.
Moulton graduate Aimee Meade (21) has recently moved back to the area and is working in a shop to save money before embarking on a Masters degree in the hope of “learning her craft” and making herself more employable.
Aimee studied Sociology at the University of Birmingham and wants to pursue a career in fashion journalism.
She said: “It really does make you question your career path and also whether it is worth the hard work and huge debt if at the end of the day you are still left unemployed and are applying for jobs that do not necessarily need a degree.”
l For a full account of Aimee’s experiences, her take on youth employment and a special report on the issue turn to page 10