THE number of young people falling into the long-term unemployed category in Banbridge is six times higher than it was four years ago, according to a new report.
While 30 young people - aged between 16 and 24 - were registered unemployed in August 2008, that figure had shot up to 180 people by August this year, an increase of 600 per cent.
Youth charity The Prince’s Trust compared the figures in a new paper looking at unemployment among young people since the recession hit in 2008.
But the picture of rising unemployment has been questioned by a local businessman, who said he had advertised a position within his catering firm which had no local applicants despite being posted on popular website Gumtree.
Dave Mateer, who runs Licence to Grill and Safari Steakburgers with his wife Dee, said he has two positions available now with a possible third to follow for his catering company.
The businessman said he had people contact him from all over Northern Ireland, including professional chefs, but was at a loss as to why no local people showed any interested in the job.
“I can’t understand why no-one local has applied for this position in the past month - considering the level of employment in the area at the minute.
“I am 40 years of age and I’ve never been unemployed. I know times are tough but I think people need to go and look for opportunities and see what is out there.”
In light of the figures, and those across the UK, the Princes Trust has organised a webchat with some of its most famous ambassadors.
Alesha Dixon, Mark Ronson, Brooke Kinsella and SBTV-founder Jamal Edwards, will take part in the charity’s first live-streamed Youth Forum - reaching out to unemployed young people and those struggling with other issues in the UK today.
Against The Odds will be streamed live on The Trust’s Facebook page this Wednesday, giving young people the chance to have their questions answered by the celebrity panel - all of whom have overcome barriers to get where they are today.
Ian Jeffers, Director with The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland, says: “More than a million young people in the UK today are struggling to find work - and, increasingly, many are becoming trapped in a cycle of long-term joblessness. They are losing confidence and skills - and, sadly, many are losing hope.”
To watch Against The Odds at 2pm on Wednesday 17 October, visit www.facebook.com/princestrust.