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Increase in unemployed youngsters highlighted

Friday, 27th November 2009.

Haverhill has suffered a massive increase over the last six months in the number of youngsters doing nothing towards a career.

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETS), rose from 56 in May to 96 in October.

The statistic has been highlighted this week by St Edmundsbury Council chief executive Geoff Rivers in talks to Haverhill business people.

On Tuesday he gave the council's annual review to Haverhill Chamber of Commerce at Days Inn, and last night (Thursday) he returned to the town to take part in the council's Rising Out Of Recession event, for business ratepayers, held at Genzyme.

At both events he raised the issue of the increase in NEETS, and said the numbers were proportionately higher than in other places in the area, which was a cause for concern.

"We have to find a way to break the cycle for those who have never got into the regular routine of going to work or training," he said.

He said the council had no firm solutions yet, but suggested a prospectus could be put together for NEETS, to give them information on all the avenues open to them.

Business people present raised various issues which might be contributing to the difficulty of dealing with this issue.

Philip Marchant of Marchant Manufacturing highlighted the way regulations had now made it very difficult for employers to take on youngsters in summer holidays, or students in general.

"I don't think there's much you can do about it," he said. "It's just the way society has developed."

Others had a similar experience and some also found a lack of the right training available locally.

Mr Rivers said local schools and West Suffolk College were awaiting a decision on funding for a new sixth form college which would improve opportunities in the town.

Haverhill Online News

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