‘North East must help itself on youth jobs’

North East MP David Miliband spoke of the challenges of youth unemployment at a jobs summit in the region last week.

The South Shields MP addressed the North East Youth Jobs Summit, organised by the Association of North East Councils and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), at a time when the North East has the highest rate of unemployed 16-24-year-olds in the country.

The event focused on current issues and challenges and explored opportunities for joint approaches, solutions, ideas and actions aimed at tackling youth unemployment and promoting jobs in the North East.

Young people from the Regional Youth Work Unit, alongside representatives from councils, business, education, the VCS and Government agencies, gave their insights and views on how to tackle youth unemployment and promote employment opportunities.

Mr Miliband said: “Youth unemployment is a huge social and economic problem.

“And there are solutions. We’re not willing to wait around for the Government to ride to the rescue of the North East, we’re going to make change ourselves.

“This summit is about mobilising private, public and third-sector resources to tackle this terrible betrayal of the next generation.”

Coun Paul Watson, chairman of the Association of North East Councils, said: “It has never been a more important time for us all to work together to support young people into employment, apprenticeships and training opportunities.

“The North East is a very different place now, and councils recognise that they need to be proactively working with the private sector and others to ensure that the skills and talents of young people are at the heart of improving and developing our economy.

“Young people have a tremendous amount to contribute and are clearly part of the solution and not the problem.”