Proposals to tackle Birmingham’s shockingly high levels of youth unemployment are to be fast tracked in a bid to win a slice of a £100 million lottery funding pot.
The city council’s Labour administration had pledged to put unemployment at the top of its agenda when it won the local elections in May - and is now bringing together a range of experts to come up with policy proposals to improve the job prospects for the one in five 18-24 year olds out of work in Birmingham.
Latest figures show that more than one in five young people in the city are unemployed, 2,500 of who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for more than year.
The council has been spurred into action to set up its Youth Unemployment Commission following the announcement of the £100 million Big Lottery Fund’s Talent Match programme - with early bids needed to be submitted by September and worked into more detailed proposals by November.
The commission will also look at ways to coordinate what Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore described as ‘fragmented’ approaches by the various organisations responsible for jobs, education, training and skills in the city.
Sir Albert said: “This Commission will bring together various players in the city to work together to provide opportunities of youth employment in the city.”
He said that the Big Lottery Fund was too good an opportunity to miss and that the Commission would start work immediately. “The time scales are tight,” he admitted.
He said: “We simply cannot go on with thousands of our young people leaving school and not going into work for months and years at a time. Like everyone, they need challenge and purpose in their own lives and to be able to contribute to the society in which they live.
“It is simply the fact that if a young person gets from 16 to 24 years-old without skills and employment, then there is every chance that they will join those long-term unemployed, unable to help themselves and our economy.”