David Miliband: Let's unite to help Hull youth into careers
THE idea of a co-ordinated Hull-based answer to youth unemployment has won the backing of leading Labour MP David Miliband.
The former foreign secretary and party leadership contender mapped out his own vision for cities taking more local approaches to the issue at a meeting hosted by Hull College last night.
His thoughts dovetailed with an initiative launched by the city's three MPs earlier this year, which aims to pull together a co-ordinated programme of funding, training opportunities and leadership involving different sectors.
The current unemployment rate for 16 to 25-year-olds in Hull is 12 per cent – twice the national average.
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Mr Miliband said: "I have just been to a job summit in the North-East and the one thing that screamed out to me was that no one was in charge.
"You have all these different government departments working on benefits, child care, education and transport but nothing really pulling it altogether.
"I want to localise it because if you tallied up how much money was being spent in Hull on someone who is not in employment, education or training, I'm sure it would be a hell of a lot.
"Whether you were getting full value for all that money would be debatable.
"What I would like to see is a local solution to do all those things."
Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson said the idea of a Hull-based approach to youth unemployment was still in its infancy.
"We've called it Future Hull but we are not looking for a big flashy launch or anything like that.
""It's not going to be something people suddenly notice one day.
"It's about identifying the young people who need help most and doing something about it in a co-ordinated way, making the best use of the public sector, the voluntary sector and the private sector expertise we have in Hull.
"There is so much already going on in Hull but a lot of it is being done in little silos here and there by different people and, because of that, it's not clear to employers what is happening."
Mr Johnson said the job opportunities likely to be created by the proposed Siemens wind turbine factory and a raft of associated supply companies coming to the city set Hull apart from other cities struggling with the same youth unemployment issues.
"We need to be resolving our own problems not just complaining about them.
"In that way, ministers will sit up and listen."
Deputy council leader Daren Hale said the authority's recent step to offer apprenticeships to school- leavers was an example of giving opportunities to young people who otherwise might fall by the wayside in the jobs market.
"As a council we can set an example to others.
"We can employ our own apprentices but we could also look at introducing a requirement for contractors to take on apprentices in the same way as we already require a certain amount of local labour in the contracts we let.
"If others did that I think we would be pushing at an open door."