A major conference is being organised by the council and the business community looking at what can be done locally to tackle youth unemployment . It’s a good example of why Labour in local government can make a difference even while we’re in opposition.
The key theme of the event – on Tuesday 20 November – will be to look at how a whole host of organisations can work together in a pledge ‘Building A Better Future For Our Young People.’
Latest jobless figures for 16 to 24 year olds in Reading stand at 925. Another 348 16 19 year olds are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).
There will be an update at the Reading Borough Council event on the local economic picture, together with information on initiatives taking place across the borough, and the opportunity to exchange ideas on what else needs to be done to give young people greater opportunities for employment and training.
O2 will present on their investment in projects to promote young people’s employment. Guests will also hear directly from some of Reading’s young unemployed about the barriers they face to finding jobs.
The Council hopes that by the end of the evening a number of practical actions will be pledged, that everyone – including politicians, employers and young people – can work together to tackle some of the barriers to employment that young people are facing in the current economic climate.
Among the areas to be covered are:
– High quality and appropriate work experience for all young people
– Coaching young people for the world of work
– Developing entrepreneurship
– Careers Advice
– Breaking down barriers to employing Young People
– Supported employment
– Opportunities to boost the local economy
The event – which runs from 5.30 to 8pm at the Town Hall – will feature some facilitated sessions and people taking part will be asked to sign a ‘Pledge’ to make a difference. The sessions will also enable young people to talk directly with local employers.
Council Leader Jo Lovelock, who is also Chair of the Reading Local Strategic Partnership, said: ‘The economic picture continues to be a major cause for concern and, although Reading remains relatively buoyant, it has not escaped unscathed from the downturn and one of the most obvious economic impacts is youth unemployment and access to education and training.
‘While there are a number of initiatives in place to try and tackle this we believe action is needed to ensure that young people know where to go to get advice and support and we need to work with our partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors if we are to really make a difference. We have some ideas about how to tackle the issues, but we are certain there are other views that can contribute to the solution. In particular we want young people involved so they can tell us what they believe we can do to try and improve their opportunities.’