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25 May 2012
I am writing this letter in response to your article about youth unemployment rates in Southwark published on Thursday 11 May.
Rising youth unemployment is a serious concern on both a local and national scale. The total number of young people unemployed in the country reached one million last year.
In 2011, Southwark Council took the initiative by introducing a £3m Youth Fund programme to help local young people through post 16 year education and employment.
The fund has three elements: the Southwark Education Maintenance Supplement, giving financial support to sixth formers; the Southwark Scholarship Scheme, paying the tuition fees of some of our highest achieving students from lower income backgrounds; and the Southwark Employment Training Programme.
The Southwark Employment Training Programme has received £350,000 of investment from the council. The scheme is a package of measures aimed at increasing youth employment through part time work, training, work experience and internships available to Southwark residents aged 16 – 24 who are looking for work.
Under the scheme the council will help 1,500 young people improve their job prospects over the next three years.
As well as the youth fund programme offering young people in the borough the opportunities to improve their job prospects, Southwark Council has been running an apprenticeship scheme since 2006.
More than 169 people have participated in the scheme, performing council jobs and whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification. There is currently a recruitment drive to secure 40 apprentices to start the scheme in September.
Southwark Council is fully committed to helping our jobless young residents develop the skills and experience that will help them improve their job prospects and operate during these difficult economic times.
Cllr Catherine McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Southwark Council
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