DCSIMG

Youngsters face struggle to find work in Leeds

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Young people in Leeds say poor skills and a lack of experience and confidence is stopping them finding work or further education.

The city has a higher than national average rate for young people who are not in education, employment or training.

And a stark report from Leeds Community Foundation warns that a reduction in funding for schools and colleges is making it harder for them to provide enough places for 16 to 18 year olds.

Levels of children who are classed as NEET is higher among young people living in poverty, teenage parents, youngsters with disabilities and those with low school attendance.

And the findings of the report say that nearly half of children who are NEET in Leeds lack experience while one in four say their poor skills and qualifications have had an impact on their lives.

A further 35 per cent of youngsters who are NEET say they lack the confidence to work, train or further their education.

Studies show that young men who are classed as NEET are three times more likely to have depression and five times more likely to have a criminal record than their peers.

The report stresses that education, employment and training are important because they increase young people’s prospects and help to raise the economic performance of Leeds.

Leeds Community Foundation has launched a Children And Young People Fund to help support projects around the city to help give youngsters the best possible start to life.

They aim to raise at least £100,000 to help projects across Leeds to help tackle key issues affecting children and young people - including child poverty.

The fund aims to support the vision for Leeds to become one of the most child friendly cities in the country.

And money will be used to support projects that raise the aspirations of young people.

SUPPORT CENTRE TO INSPIRE YOUNGSTERS

Over the last decade Christ Church Armley Youth Project has reached out to inspire hundreds of youngsters in west Leeds.

The project was launched to encourage children and young people to take pride in their community after reports the area had become an anti-social behaviour hotspot.

The church was regularly under threat from thieves and graffiti was daubed around the streets.

But 14 years later the project has transformed the community and the lives of young people who live there.

Regular activities and support sessions have helped raise their aspirations and empowered them to succeed.

Gary Bentley from the project said: “It is all about identity and self esteem.

“We aim to help young people make positive choices in their lives and be more informed.

“For some of them it is a long journey but we have seen such a transformation in them.”

And some youngsters have been given the opportunity to volunteer and help their peers.

He added: “They are fantastic role models and it gives them something positive to focus on.

“It also inspires youngsters to achieve in other areas of their lives because there is that support there for them.”

But he warned that funding from organisations such as Leeds Community Foundation are a “lifeline” for the centre.

He added: “Funding is crucial.”

HOW TO SUPPORT THE FUND

Leeds Community Foundation have launched their Children and Young People Fund.

Visit www.leedscf.org.uk/donate-online

Text the following letters and the amount you wish to donate: LCFF55 £10 to 70070 (donations of £3, £5, £10 can be submitted via text – T&Cs on LCF website)

Cheques payable to Leeds Community Foundation and post to LCF, first floor, 51a St Paul’s Street, Leeds, LS1 2TE.

 

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