CHARITIES are warning young people are bearing the brunt of the downturn amid soaring unemployment.

In June, there were 10,000 more young people in the North-East claiming unemployment benefits than in March, with the worst affected constituency – Easington, in County Durham – seeing unemployment rates of 16 per cent of people aged between 18 and 24.


In County Durham there were 4,930 young job seekers in June – a rise of 60 per cent in three months – while in the Tees Valley there were 7,200 unemployed, a 58 per cent rise.

Youth unemployment was above ten per cent in every constituency, apart from Durham City, Newcastle Central and Newcastle East.

Youth education charity Nacro Middlesbrough has warned young people are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn, as they are 2.5 times more likely to work in shut down sectors, like retail and hospitality.

With many education and training centres disrupted, there are fears thousands will not return to further education.

Senior tutor Maureen Burton said: “Not since the 1980s have we seen a collapse of the youth labour market like we are seeing today. Many young people find their plans on hold and the rug pulled out from under them. But there are options out there.

"It is important now that young people stay in education and training and prepare for the jobs market of the future to give them the best chance in this more competitive future.

“Local Further Education and skills providers like Nacro are best placed to do this. They know the local job markets, they have time to work with learners as individuals, link them to employers and they can build trust with young people to get the best out of them.”

Laura-Jane Rawlings, chief executive of Youth Employment UK said: "There can be a negative effect of entering the labour market during a recession - there can be a scarring of individuals that enter at this time.

"It’s not just about having one or two bad years it can be persistent. The people hit the most are people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“There is a good reason to suggest these figures have been understated because of the furlough scheme – the real issue will be months down the line if businesses don’t survive.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £2bn scheme to help young , while in the Tees Valley, a £1m fund was launched to provide more than 100 apprenticeships.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses and local workers, including our young people. As part of my plan for jobs – creating good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people - they will not be forgotten about or left behind.

“That is why I have made available almost £1 million to fund the salaries of more than 100 apprenticeships, so we can make sure that our talented young people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are getting the good start in life on the road to a successful career."

He added: "My Welcome Back Fund to help hospitality and tourism businesses across the region reopen has already supported around 500 businesses.

"This has been one of the sectors most disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and as these jobs are mostly taken by young people, it is vital we support these businesses so more young people can get back to work."

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said: "I believe it is vital that we get detailed and accurate data behind these figures if we are to see better targeted Government interventions.

"We must know what sectors are being affected and what demographics are being hit the hardest. Stopping job losses is as imperative as creating and proving well-paid, stable employment.”