Speaking after the release of figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Philip Atkins said Staffordshire’s youth unemployment figure remained well below the national and regional averages.
The figures have been issued during National Apprenticeship Week, when Staffordshire has marked considerable success in increasing the number of apprentices through a range of initiatives.
Figures show that youth unemployment in Staffordshire (people aged between 16 and 24) stood at 14.7 per cent at the end of last year. This compares to the UK figure of 21.5 per cent and West Midlands figure of 24 per cent. Across the EU, the figure was 23.5 per cent. Staffordshire County Council’s quarterly performance report released next week highlights that youth unemployment across all district and boroughs has been falling since 2010. In November last year, the county council launched its Let’s Talk Jobs campaign, which aims to increase awareness among young people about the best sources of impartial advice to support them in kick starting their careers.
Cllr Atkins said, ““In Staffordshire we have a real success story in how there has been an increase in opportunities for young people to gain employment, education or skills development. We have seen a fall in recent years in the number of people claiming JSA and our performance report released next week details the fact that youth unemployment has fallen across Staffordshire between 2010 and 2013.
“The county council’s priority is to improve job opportunities for all and we have made significant investments in this area through business and infrastructure development. We have a real focus on skills development; making sure we have work-ready candidates for employment that will help boost business in our area.
“In addition, we are seeing the number of apprentices in the county increase all the time and by working with business we are confident this will continue.
“The figures released this week demonstrate a combined effort across public and private sectors in Staffordshire in increase opportunities for young people and our figure is lower even than the south-east regional average. However we know there is still a lot of hard work to be done and we will make every effort to make further improvements.”