London youth unemployment jumps by 26,000 in three years

The number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (Neets) has jumped by 26,380 since 2008, a study commissioned by BBC London has found.

In January 2008, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming jobseeker's allowance was 32,945. In October this year it was 59,325.

All 32 London boroughs have seen a rise in the number of young people claiming the benefit since 2008, research by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI) found.

Figures for October 2011 show that Tower Hamlets was the borough with the highest number of claimants, with 3,430 getting jobseeker's allowance (10% of its young people).

Newham came second with 3,300 claimants, followed by Croydon (2,935), Enfield (2,860) Waltham Forest (2,780) and Southwark (2,700).

Youth unemployment numbers have also more than doubled in Croydon, Redbridge, Ealing, Havering and Barnet since 2008.

Of all the boroughs, Waltham Forest had the highest proportion of Neets (10.3%).

Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: "In Tower Hamlets, this year's GCSE results were the highest they have ever been. Yet, across the country, young people are achieving more but receiving less.

"In Bethnal Green and Bow there has been a 76% rise in young people out of work for more than six months. Graduates are struggling to find work and school leavers their next steps."

A spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "London's jobs market is more competitive than ever, particularly for young people who can find it tough to compete and secure even entry-level positions."

'Take every opportunity'

In a statement Tower Hamlets council said: "In the past year, we have actually reduced the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds within this category to just 5.3%, which is lower than the national average of 6.6%."

Over the past three years, 1,000 young people in the borough began an apprenticeship and new initiatives like Future Jobs Fund and Work Start helped more than 200 young people into jobs.

The council said it was also on track to fill 1,000 London Olympics jobs.

Waltham Forest councillor Clyde Loakes, cabinet member for the environment and public realm, said it was a "real worry" that the borough had the highest proportion of unemployed young people in the capital.

He said: "We are trying to put in place programmes where we can at least encourage young people to get some better training, some better skills for maybe when that growth does come along they are first in line to benefit from those job opportunities."

He advised young people to do paid internships and "take any opportunities that come your way... wherever they may arise and however small they may be".

CESI, which said young people in the UK were facing a similar situation to the 1980s recession, found that five of the six Olympic boroughs had the highest proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds in London claiming the allowance.

Summer jobs

Figures for October 2011 show in Waltham Forest 10.3% of young people claimed, in Tower Hamlets it was 10%, 9.6% claimed in Newham and 9.4% in Barking and Dagenham and Hackney.

The Olympic organising committee Locog said it was looking to recruit 4,000 people over the next few months and there were thousands of opportunities with contractors which were being highlighted to residents of host boroughs.

A spokeswoman said: "With our recruitment partner Adecco, we launched the Summer Jobs of a Lifetime site, which is aimed at students wanting to take advantage of the unique opportunity to get a job at an Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The Olympic Delivery Authority said of the 44,000 people that worked on the Olympic Park, a fifth came from the five host boroughs and as well as 450 apprentices.

A £13m Host Borough Employment and Skills project is up and running to help people improve their skills and to find work during the Games and beyond.

More than 2,600 residents living in the host boroughs have been offered jobs with contractors.

London Councils, which represents all 32 boroughs and co-ordinates apprenticeships offered by them, said more than 80% of the 2,275 paid positions were offered to 16 to 24-year-olds.

The mayor said he wanted to see "more action from big companies to open their doors" and offer apprenticeships.

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