South West London boroughs among worst in the capital for youth unemployment


Croydon has the highest rate of 16-24 year olds in London.


By Laura Mitchell

Croydon has the highest rate of youth unemployment in London according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics earlier this week.

Records showed that 7,900 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work in the South West London borough.

Other badly affected areas included Lambeth with 6,100 unemployed youths, Wandsworth with 4,000 and Hammersmith and Fulham with 2,600.

An unemployed Croydon resident said: “I feel completely demoralised and low. I am educated and have previously worked in a number of complex jobs, but can’t seem to get a job anywhere.”

It is believed a total of 177,400 16 to 24-year-olds are unemployed in the capital according to the 2012 study – pushing the unemployment rate up from 7.8% to 7.9%.

The results come at a time when the government is making major changes to the welfare and benefit systems, resulting in many people receiving less benefit than in previous years.

Even for the employed things are looking bleak, with last year seeing the lowest national growth in pay rises since 2001 with the average pay rise slipping to 1% – well short of the 2.8% inflation rate.

Councils in South West London are providing schemes to help encourage a rise in employment and help to improve resident’s financial situations. 

Croydon Council held a benefit changes advice and support event at Fairfield Halls last Friday between 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The free event aimed to help people get advice on finding a job, housing, childcare, managing money or debt, legal issues, benefit claims and more.

But some people feel that councils are not doing enough and are left feeling isolated and lost in these difficult times.

“The biggest issue is that unemployment is treated as one big stereotype in this country and everyone is put in to the same box and is assumed to have the same needs,” said an unemployed Croydon resident.

“Going to the Jobcentre and receiving Jobseekers allowance made me feel so awful and ashamed that I stopped claiming it after two months. It just wasn’t worth the hassle.”

Charity Street League, whose main office is in Kensington, is using more imaginative ways of getting youths back into work.

The national charity, which has academies in Croydon and Wandsworth, is running free football sessions across London once a week for unemployed people between 16 and 25.

The youths can also take an eight week programme, called Street League Academy, designed to help them develop crucial employability skills such as teamwork and communication.

Participants also play football and achieve coaching qualifications, practice CV-writing and take part in mock interview sessions.

Robin van Persie, Street League Ambassador: “There are almost one million young people out of work in the UK. Street League are amazing because they use the power of football to get the most disadvantaged into work, education and training.”

They welcome both men and women, and their scheme seems to be a great success, with 76% of their graduates moving into work and training.

If you are interested in Street League’s scheme call 0208 536 5330 or email [email protected].

Photo courtesy of SLlondon10 via YouTube, with thanks.

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