Redbridge young face struggle as jobless figures soar

GROWING numbers of Redbridge College students fear not being able to find work it has been revealed in the wake of the announcement that one in five young people are jobless.

According to the Office of National Statistics 20 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds are unemployed, raising fears amongst charities like the Prince’s Trust about the affect it will have on mental health of many youngsters.

But it is not all clear cut, according to Redbridge catering tutor Bradley Doughty.

He says many jobs usually available to students are being blocked by people unable or unwilling to retire and others who can’t find work in their chosen field because of the recession.

Chef Doughty said: “A lot of over qualified people are taking the jobs that would have been set aside for college leavers. Plus you have got a lot of older people working longer too.

“There are problems in that the youth haven’t got the experience, which is one of the things we try to help them with here.”

Young people, according to Mr Doughty, do have it tough but he says they can often be their own worst enemy.

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He said: “It’s sometimes their attitude or language. Some of them will come in here and try to call me ‘blood or bruv’ and I have to say to them ‘it’s chef or Bradley.’ I try to make a joke of it, but in the end it can mean the difference between being marched out the door or getting a job.”

The catering course brings in guest speakers and pupils spend 30 hours a year working on teamwork and learning how to write CVs.

A breakfast club on Wednesday mornings also offers prospective employers the chance to visit the college and meet potential employees.

Youth unemployment rose nationally by 66,000 to 965,000 between October and December.

Across the borough unemployment has risen by 0.8 per cent since the summer, with more than 12,000 unemployed people of all ages or 9.4 per cent of its population.

Redbridge also has the joint eighth highest number of economically inactive residents in London, a figure which includes students, many of whom face joining the dole queues.

Princes Trust’s says the effect of long-term unemployment on the young can be dramatic, with depression and insomnia just some of the symptoms.

Trust regional director for London, Rosemary Watt-Wyness, said: “It’s now more important than ever to give young people in Ilford the skills and confidence to break out of long-term unemployment and poverty. Transforming these young lives will have a huge impact on their families, communities as well as on Ilford’s economy.”

The Trust’s Get Into courses offer young people the chance to develop specific skills and its Enterprise Programme helps young unemployed people work on business ideas and work out if self-employment is right for them.

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