Pledge to tackle rise in jobless youngsters

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Council bosses in Sheffield have detailed how they aim to tackle the rising number of teenagers not in employment, education or training.

Figures for 2009/10 which have just been released showed the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds in the category - known as NEETs - rose to 8.8 per cent, the first increase in almost a decade.

Tony Tweedy, Sheffield Council’s director of lifelong learning, skills and communities, said: “The rise is a cause for concern. It coincides with the period in which youth unemployment in Sheffield hit a 13-year high.

“The council is determined to address the rise and is taking action.

“At a time when the Government has announced its decision to close the Connexions service, which is responsible for re-engaging young people who have dropped out of education or employment, the council has allocated more than £1.8 million to make sure that this vital work can continue.

“In addition, the council launched its Future:proof initiative, providing placements and work experience designed as a stepping stone back into learning or employment. Since January 2010, 593 young people who are NEET have been helped in this way.”

He said youth unemployment was a priority and the council had committed £500,000 to create an extra 100 apprenticeships.