Slump in South Yorkshire teen job prospects

Clive Betts
Clive Betts
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TEENAGERS picking up their GCSE grades in South Yorkshire this week will have far fewer job prospects than in other parts of the country, a new study shows.

Since they started secondary school, young people in parts of South Yorkshire have been hit by the fastest-growing youth unemployment rate in the country.

In Sheffield, the number of 16- to 24-year-olds not in education or work has risen from 3.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent over the last five years.

But that figure is cast into shadow by unemployment in neighbouring areas.

Doncaster saw young jobseeker’s allowance claimants more than double, from 4.9 to 10.8 per cent - the fifth largest increase in the country.

In Barnsley the number of young people out of work also doubled, from 5.2 to 10.4 per cent - the ninth highest growth out of 359 local authorities. And in Rotherham youth unemployment rose from 5.0 to 9.9 per cent, 15th on the list. Sheffield was 136th in the rankings.

The study, published by education specialists Ambitious Minds, says pupils who collect their grades on Thursday will have seen the most ‘dramatic’ changes to their prospects than any group for 70 years.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East said: “Clearly life is a lot less optimistic for young people than it was five years ago.

“The work to diversify the Sheffield economy has shown some benefits so we are not seeing as much of an impact.”

Rotherham MP Denis Macshane said: “While ministers exude complacency we are giving birth to a lost generation of young Rotherham citizens without work or hope. We need employers to accept their responsibility to take on young workers when they leave school and college.”

Some 70 per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds stayed in education last year, with 22 per cent in work and 8 per cent unemployed.