Islington Council strives to cut youth unemployment – but faces flak for not taking on apprentices

A new commitment to tackle rising youth unemployment has been made by Islington Council – but the opposition has criticised the local authority for not employing enough apprentices.

Last week’s full council meeting saw a series of measures voted through to improve job prospects for youngsters.

The pledge, dubbed “a fair chance for young people”, includes using �200,000 to create 300 new apprenticeships, a bursary to help impoverished youngsters stay on in college and a dedicated website called Izzy displaying the latest training and job opportunities.

The council has also promised that by 2015, no-one aged 16 to 18 will not be in education, employment or training.

The accompanying report also says that at the end of 2010, one in four young adults in Islington were out of work and seeking a job.

Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for planning, regeneration and transport, said: “Young people’s employment prospects in this borough have never been worse.’’

Catherine West, leader of the council, said: “These are tough times for young people. Unemployment is rising at an alarming rate.

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“The government is ripping away young people’s life chances. We are working to give them back.”

But the opposition Liberal Democrat group attacked the council for not recruiting a single apprentice between March 2011 and February this year.

Cllr Terry Stacy, the Lib Dem group leader, said: “It is plain common sense at a time of rising unemployment, especially for young people, that the council should be doing all it can to recruit apprentices.

“The former Lib Dem council recruited 43 apprentices in one year.

“The current Labour council managed just 30 in its first year in power and exactly zero this past year. So much for being on residents’ side.”