YOUNG, eager... and out of work. That is the reality for hundreds of youngsters across Blackpool facing a daily battle to replace their Jobseekers Allowance with a wage.
And yesterday they were given the chance to take the first step towards changing that situation by meeting the people who can get them on the career ladder through training and apprenticeships.
Around 450 16 to 24-year-olds headed to the JobCentre Plus’ Future Choices day, at The Oracle, on St Annes Road, South Shore – an event the Jobcentre said is helping drive down the resort’s youth unemployment levels.
Gareth Carr, employment and partnership manager at Jobcentre Blackpool, said: “Youth unemployment nationally is going up, but in Blackpool it’s dropped by 200 people in the last 12 months.
“We run this event quarterly and this is the second one at The Oracle.
“We’re looking at getting people into apprenticeships, getting people relevant work experience and helping them find out what skills they need to get out into the workplace.”
There are currently 1,615 young people – aged 18 to 24 – who are not in employment, education or training.
One of the organisations at the event was Blackpool Build Up, helping youngsters get the necessary training from Blackpool and The Fylde College to take on apprenticeships working on council projects, such as the Talbot Gateway.
Working with Build Up is Forrest, which carries out work for Blackpool Coastal Housing.
Learning and development manager Paul Rigby said: “We’re linking in to recruit new apprentices and general positions in labouring and tenant liaison.
“There’s a wide spectrum of people we can hit with our recruitment.”
Other organisations present included the army, NHS and police.
Job seekers’ struggle exposed
TEENAGER Rachael Grey used to be one of the workers employed at Blackpool’s Premium Bonds site, at Mereside.
But as a temp worker, the 18-year-old, from Layton, was axed four months ago and has been job hunting ever since.
At five months pregnant it’s not an easy search, and Miss Grey said: “I’ve been looking for work for about four months.
“I’ve gotaLevel TwoNVQin business admin and I want to do my Level Three.
“But I’m five months pregnant so no-one wants to take me on.
“I know I will be able to get a job afterwards but now I’m struggling.”
IN his six months of job-hunting Michael Croft estimates he has put his CV out for between 60 and 70 jobs.
The 23-year-old, from South Shore, is desperate to find work – and after yesterday’s event he is considering volunteering options in a bid to make him more attractive to employers.
He said: “It’s extremely difficult job hunting.
“I’ve seen the police special constables stand and I had no idea about doing something like that for experience which will look good on a CV.
“But I’m here for the apprenticeships and hopefully I will find something good.”
For Nathan Duckworth, it has been an uphill struggle to find work.
The 22-year-old has now been job hunting for two years.
But Mr Duckworth, from central Blackpool, hoped yesterday’s event had given him the chance to secure an apprenticeship.
He said: “I think the event is a good idea to get people into apprenticeships and work.
“I’ve spoken to some people I think might be able to help me, because an apprenticeship is something I’m interested in doing.”
WESLEY Lee is relatively new to the jobhunt – but is clear about his overall goal.
The 21-year-old, from Lytham, wants to secure work so he can fund a degree in the States and said the event was helping unravel the “confusion” of looking for work.
Mr Lee said: “I think the event will help me. It’s a good thing to get a lot of information because I’m still confused by looking for a job.
“I’ve been job hunting for about two months because I was in America before.
“Now I need to save up to get a student visa because you have to pay for all the courses.”