Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, will bring together key players from business, education, the third sector and national experts to tackle the city’s youth unemployment.
Birmingham has one of the worst rates of youth unemployment in the country with more than 2,500 young people on Job Seeker’s Allowance for more than a year.
Today, Sir Albert has launched a Birmingham Youth Unemployment Commission with the backing of Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Brian Carr, Chief Executive of BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Service Council); and Jas Bains, Chief Executive of Ashram Housing Association.
At the same time the Leader of Birmingham City Council has commissioned third sector leaders ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) to carry out a piece of rapid scoping work to identify what organisations are already doing to tackle youth unemployment in the city; the real scale of the issue in Birmingham; and the key problems and opportunities.
Sir Albert said: “We simply cannot go on with thousands of our young people leaving school and not going into work for months and years at a time. Like everyone, they need challenge and purpose in their own lives and to be able to contribute to the society in which they live.
“It is simply the fact that if a young person gets from 16 to 24 years-old without skills and employment, then there is every chance that they will join those long-term unemployed, unable to help themselves and our economy. And we all need to make Birmingham a powerful engine of employment and entrepreneurism.”
Sir Albert said that he was also talking to schools and colleges, the NHS, Jobcentre Plus, the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), private sector employers such as Carillion and the Big Lottery Fund to be part of the Birmingham Youth Unemployment Commission.
The combination of the ‘ambitious but realistic city-owned goals’ identified by ACEVO’s scoping report for Birmingham; plus the knowledge and ideas gathered from the key players on the Commission will inform the city’s submission later in the year for a share of the Big Lottery Fund’s £100 million Talent Match programme to tackle youth unemployment.
Sir Albert added: “We will set a series of targets and programmes, agreed with partners, and will monitor and track delivery. It is our ambition to lead the way in Birmingham for eradicating long term unemployment amongst our young people.”
Notes to editors
1. ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) published a national report ‘Youth Unemployment: the crisis we cannot afford’ earlier this year, identifying Birmingham as one of 20 youth unemployment hot spots in the country.
Former foreign secretary, David Miliband, chaired the chief executives body’s Commission on Youth Unemployment, which reported in February, and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced the Government would take up one of the main themes of the report to give the ‘hot spots’ preferential access to wage subsidies.
Nick Clegg said in June this year that the Government would choose 20 local authority areas in Britain, where it would bring forward eligibility for the wage subsidy from nine months of unemployment to six. The wage subsidy offers employers a payment of £2,275 for taking on a long term unemployed person aged between 16 and 24.
2. The Big Lottery Fund has launched Talent Match, an ambitious £100 million investment aimed at tackling youth unemployment in areas of England hardest hit by the economic downturn. Talent Match will put charities at the heart of local partnerships established between local councils, charities, employers and colleges to work up proposals on how they will best use lottery funding to help match the talents of young people in their hot spot with skills and opportunities for the future.
For further information for the media please contact Deborah Harries on 0121 303 4777/07825 979046 or the press office on 0121 303 3287