Devon youth unemployment rises

Unemployment among young people in Devon, Torbay and Plymouth has risen, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

About one in three people claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) in the area is aged under 24, said the ONS.

North Devon is the worst county area for youth unemployment, with 36.8% of JSA claimants aged 24 and under.

The ONS has said a record number of young people are out of work in the UK, with the total reaching more than 1m.

The October figure for young people claiming JSA in north Devon was up from 34.5% in June, according to the ONS figures.

Richard Haddock, who owns a farm shop in south Devon, said the problem was finding the right people.

He said: "We have had some very good youngsters, but they are few and far between.

"They have qualifications as long as their arm, but they do not have life skills, they don't communicate and they can't talk to their colleagues.

"They can do it with a laptop and a spellchecker, but take those away and most of them are fish out of water."

He said giving young people experience in the workplace was key but "health and safety issues" were blocking this.

The government says it has launched initiatives to help 350,000 young people into work.

Business Secretary Vince Cable told BBC 5 live that Mr Haddock "had a point" about young people's life skills.

But he said sector-based work academies, launched in August, were helping young people prepare for work.

The ONS figures also showed that Torbay has the worst unemployment in the South West at 3,318, or 4.1% of the working population, a slight fall on last month.

In Plymouth the figure is 6,813, or 3.9% of the working population, and overall in Devon the figure is 9,516 - 2.1% of the working population.

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