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Town pulls together to help young unemployed

Friday, 20th May 2011.

Representatives of the public, private and voluntary sectors gathered in Haverhill this morning to launch a new project to support the town's young unemployed.

The town's MP Matthew Hancock attended the event at Haverhill Arts Centre and carried out the official launch.

The project, entitled Supporting Young Haverhill, has been formed by a partnership of local people keen to reduce youth unemployment, including representatives of Jobcentre Plus, the Apprentice Service, councils, the police and businesses.

Candice Danleigh, Jobcentre Plus senior customer service operations manager for Suffolk, introduced the event, saying the level of NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training) in Haverhill had led the prime movers to want to do something to help.

"Young people don't just suddenly become unemployed," she said. "All sorts of things affect them that lead to it, and we wanted to look at want happens to them and try to help them through it."

Mark Parker from Suffolk County Council's corporate business development department, presented some case studies to set the scene.

He said: "What is inspring in Haverhill is that a bunch of local people who live and work here have got togethjer to dodomething about it and dragged in people like me from outside to help move it forward."

Hannah Stewart, a local youngster, told her experience of trying to get a job after graduating from the University of Kent last year.

She had done volunteering and joined clubs to add to her CV but still found she could not get a chance in journalism, despite work experience withn a series of newspapers including the Cambridge News and the Independent.

She spent the morning of her 22nd birthday signing on at the Jobcentre, an outcome she said she could not have imagined at university.

Thanks to enterprise agency Menta, she said she had now moved into PR and self-emplopyment and was gaining in confidence, although there was no guarantee she would be successful.

Mr Hancock described her presentation as 'extremely eloquent' and said he was sure she would succeed.

He said some of the problem of NEETS was being tackled by Government, but the work to improve things locally took place locally.

"I sense in Haverhill a community that pulls together and helps each other, and this event is all about that," he said.

The partners in the project, which is non-funded, have surveyed students, parents, unemployed and employers to find out what would make a difference, and are now working in four groups, tackling school students, college students, unemployed young people and employers.

The first move is that a work club is due to start in both Castle Manor College and Samuel Ward Academy in the next few weeks, where students can go to learn more about the world of work and how to get into it.

Haverhill Online News

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