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Initiative launched to halve youth unemployment

PUBLISHED: 16:43 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 21:26 20 April 2018

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and Julia Nix, district manager for East Anglia for the Department of Work and Pensions, at the Thetford launch of Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and Julia Nix, district manager for East Anglia for the Department of Work and Pensions, at the Thetford launch of Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

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A campaign to halve unemployment in young people across Breckland and West Norfolk has been launched.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman at the Dereham launch of the Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs event.  Photo: Jim RiceMid Norfolk MP George Freeman at the Dereham launch of the Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs event. Photo: Jim Rice

Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs aims to help 18 to 24-year-olds find their first employment opportunity or help them back into jobs.

The scheme was launched in King’s Lynn by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, in Dereham by Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, and in Thetford by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.

Currently 1,021 young people in West Norfolk, 383 in Thetford and 531 in Dereham are claiming some form of benefit and are without a job.

Working with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the MPs hope to encourage employers and businesses to offer assistance by providing CV advice or work experience places.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman at the Dereham launch of the Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs event.  Photo: Jim RiceMid Norfolk MP George Freeman at the Dereham launch of the Breckland and West Norfolk for Jobs event. Photo: Jim Rice

Julia Nix, DWP district manager for East Anglia, said: “We are aiming to get employers and businesses to really think about how they can help a young person into work. It could be as simple as an hour to do a mock interview to big things like a job, an apprenticeship or work experience. All of these things make a huge difference to helping people get a job.”

She added: “It is a very simple model and it is about the employers giving us a pledge. Some young people have hidden potential talent.”

More than 100 employers attended the three launch events.

The scheme - which also looks to help those with health conditions - is based on the successful model of Norwich for Jobs, which was launched by MP Chloe Smith.

Norwich for Jobs had a target of helping 1,000 young people into work over a two year period - but in 16 months it had already helped 1,600.

Ms Truss said the scheme is all about helping young people to get that “first step onto the ladder of their future career”.

She said: “It is about making sure that these young people get the opportunities for employment and we are building up skills locally that we will need in this area.”

She mentioned the arrival of the F-35B Lightning jet at RAF Marham and the skilled jobs which will be created.

She added: “I want to see young people in this area getting the opportunities for these high skilled jobs.”

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