Youth jobs face axe

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A SECOND wave of job losses is set to hit a Sheffield youth organisation – with up to 36 posts to go in coming weeks.

Staff say all the redundancies in the Connexions service are in front-line roles, among advisors who help young people at school or without jobs find work, training and further education courses.

The move follows the loss of almost 100 staff at the council-funded charity last autumn, after funding cuts of more than £700,000. Now the service is to lose more of its income in April due to the loss of Government grants and a reduced budget from the city council.

A worker at Connexions said the number of advisors was being slashed by almost half, while management was unaffected.

He said: “What makes me so angry is the fact that so many cuts are going to affect young people – it seems like the Government doesn’t have a youth policy at all.”

Unison Sheffield branch chair Jon Mordecai, whose union represents many Connexions staff, said the job losses were coming at a time when youth unemployment was at an all-time high and the advisors were most needed.

He said: “These are people who provide invaluable advice on careers, courses and training, as well as helping to provide services for disillusioned young people who may have opted out altogether.

“The timing couldn’t be worse.”

A Connexions spokeswoman said local authority funding was needed to cover the transitional period before a new All Age Careers Service was formed.

“Funding for Connexions has been reduced significantly and we have therefore begun a consultation process with staff.

“The full impact of the reduced funding to our services is yet to be confirmed."

Meanwhile, an agency that has helped hundreds of new businesses to get off the ground and create jobs in Sheffield is set to sack staff as a result of cuts in council funding.

Sheffield Enterprise Agency – SENTA – is part of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and provides support for new and existing businesses.

It employs 14 but not all those jobs are expected to go.

But bosses have vowed the agency’s work will continue.

Sheffield Chamber acting executive director Richard Wright said: “We are committed to helping the city achieve better, more focused enterprise support where a much larger proportion of the available money gets to the point of need – new and existing businesses in the city.”

Sheffield Council enterprise programme director Kevin Bennett said: “Although the council remains completely committed to supporting business growth and job creation, we clearly need to prioritise and focus our investment.”