The number of young people claiming unemployment benefits in Birmingham has fallen from 14,450 to 5,965 since 2012, and at 11.2%, the city has also seen the largest youth claimant reduction rate of the UK’s core cities.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “Birmingham’s issues with youth unemployment are well documented and this City Council report is particularly welcome as it highlights how far the city has come since 2012.
“One of the most effective ways to ensure that young people have the skills they need to be ready for the world of work is by bridging the gap between education and businesses.
“Our research has shown that 84% of schools in the West Midlands believe that engagement with employers improves students’ awareness of the softer skills valued by businesses and that 72% see increased levels of motivation from pupils after experiencing the world of work.
“The GBCC works closely with the Ahead Partnership, which delivers the Make the Grade programme in Birmingham. The programme creates partnerships between education and employers and provides students with exposure to work-related activities and direct interaction with volunteer professionals.”
The GBCC is also a member of the Birmingham Youth Partnership, which involves partners from the public, private and third sector working to address youth unemployment. It is also involved with Cog Digital Access Point, which connects young people to careers advice, training, and job opportunities.
The report revealed Hodge Hill has experienced the biggest reduction in claimants of all the city’s constituencies, with Washwood Heath, Shard End and Bordesley Green also seeing a substantial fall.
Shilpi Akbar, assistant director for employment at the City Council, added: “We can be cautiously optimistic about the good news in this report.
“It shows that the direct measures we have put in place to tackle youth unemployment since we published the Commission on Youth Unemployment in 2013 are working - including in those wards with the highest and most intransigent numbers.
“We must use this as an incentive to continue to work with our partners so we can do more in the coming years to get our young people into the fantastic opportunities this city has coming our way.
“We know that there will be many thousands of jobs created here and our young citizens must be first in the queue to take them.”
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