NEWCASTLE Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke has said that more needs to be done to reduce youth unemployment in Down.
Councillor Clarke said: “Down District Council needs to show we are serious about tackling the scourge of unemployment. Other councils have introduced schemes to provide quality training and work experience.
“These include Belfast, Fermanagh, and Moyle Council, and I would envisage rolling out a programme where unemployed young people were offered up to a year’s work experience with a recognised qualification on completion. Training could be offered in a range of departments within the council.[caption id="attachment_41569" align="alignright" width="200"] Councillor Willie Clarke.[/caption]
Councillor Clarke said: “Statistics have shown that one in five young people in The North are currently out of work. Young people who live in Down district are already at a disadvantage when it comes to securing employment because of our geographical isolation with most people having to commute long distances to work in places such as Belfast.”
Councillor Clarke added: “The initiative would provide the opportunity to gain experience and improve their chances to gain full time employment; these young people are often caught in the cycle of not being able to get a job because they haven’t got experience and they can’t get experience without employment.
“Our Council is all too aware of the exodus of young people from the local area and the impact this has on rural communities. Down District Council need to provide leadership through this difficult economic situation.
“I have already had discussions with senior directors from the council in regards this initiative and I intend having discussions with the Chairperson of Council, Chief Executive and the Chairperson of the Economic Development sub committee to progress this proposal.”
Down News supports all initiatives to help unemployment which eats at the heart of our society in many ways, affecting individuals, families, children’s educational and job prospects, and much more. A society battling unemployment positively needs to create opportunities across the board, and lead agencies such as Councils, colleges, and other bodies can all create a movement of goodwill and cooperation leading to a synergy that may help to make a large dent in youth unemployment in Down District, South Down and indeed County Down.
Down News is currently employing a university graduate on a short eight week work experience programme through the HJ O’Boyle employment service, and there will hopefully be an office administrator trainee starting also. In a couple of weeks a placement will start for a young unemployed person through the Jobscentre on a eight week programme. And in a week Down News will have a trainee journalist starting on a career of professional development.
Down News is making its small and limited effort to address this issue of youth unemployment. Down News is committed to making a difference.
It is now time for all businesses to re-assess their capacity to help on this new initiative to make youth unemployment a memory of the past, and a building brick to a healthier future.