BLACKPOOL is again bucking the national trend – and not in a good way.
While towns and cities across the country celebrate people returning to work the resort is slumping into an ever-deeper pit of benefit dependency.
But it is not all doom and gloom in the resort as thousands of people claiming benefits are being encouraged to pursue training to find work on some of the capital projects currently underway across the Fylde coast.
Daniel Stirling, 20, left school aged 14 with no qualifications and moved from job to job, mainly in resort bars.
But after answering an advert posted by training provider Blackpool Build Up, Mr Stirling, of Bloomfield Road, has shown there is hope for the town’s 6,226 people now claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The figures for January 2013 show the situation has been exacerbated again compared to December 2012’s total of 6,096.
A total of seven per cent of Blackpool’s population now claim the benefit, almost double the 3.8 per cent national average.
Mr Stirling said: “I’ve been out of work since November and it’s horrible and I hate it.
“I heard about the opportunity with Blackpool Build Up and when I went for the interview I thought it was really impressive.
“I left school with no qualifications when my family moved abroad and had part time jobs, but this has put skills behind me and brings me some stability.”
The course has taught the trainees how to do everything from block paving, brick work and building chimney breasts to equipping them with all the attributes they need to find work.
Mr Stirling, who starts work at a building site on Monday, added: “This is definitely the right path for me and if I hadn’t got on this it would’ve been back to bar work.”
Blackpool Build Up, on Princess Street, South Shore, has helped 2,421 find work since it formed in 2008 and Roberta Austin, centre manager, says there is currently a wealth of job opportunities in building on the Fylde coast.
She added: “We’re at the height of regeneration in Blackpool with the Talbot Gateway scheme, the sea wall and the demolition of the high rise flats in Layton. We are very lucky to be a town with so many opportunities for employment.”
And Hugh Evans, policy director for the North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, want the resort to stop relying on tourism to find jobs.
He said: “Business start-ups in Blackpool show the town is an entrepreneurial place to do business. It is very heavily dependent on tourism and the public sector and one of the challenges is to stop being so reliant on these industries.”