North South Divide For School Leaver Jobs

21 August 2012, 06:29

School leavers in the North East are in for a harder time finding work than teenagers in the rest of the country.

A study's shown school leavers are set to face a postcode lottery in finding jobs, as youth unemployment soars in parts of the UK.

It argues that there is now a north-south divide, with youngsters in the North East and Scotland facing the worst prospects.

At the same time, London and the South East remain relatively unaffected by youth unemployment, according to a study by education specialists Ambitious Minds.

The study warns warns that teenagers who are picking up their GCSE results this week have seen the most "dramatic'' changes to their prospects and expectations than any other secondary school year group for 70 years.

When they began their education, and when they started secondary school, unemployment rates were low.

But the last five years have brought "economic deterioration, systemic failures, false dawns and empty promises,'' it says.

The organisation looked at the impact of the recession on job prospects and found hotspots of youth unemployment throughout the UK, based on published figures.

The North East, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber have all had rises in youth unemployment that are twice as large as those in London and the South East, which have seen only small increases, it claims.

Overall, the North East of England had seen the biggest rises. In September 2007, 5.1% of 16-to-24-year-olds in the region were claiming jobseekers' allowance. By July 2012 this had risen to 8.6% - an increase of 3.5 percentage points.

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.

As the economy stagnates, young people and the organisations which support them must understand and grapple with the employment issues that are facing them.''

The latest official unemployment figures showed that in the three months to June, 1.01 million 16-to-24-year-olds were considered out of work, down 4,000 down on the previous three months.

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