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Young speakers inspire delegates at youth unemployment event

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Young speakers inspire delegates at youth unemployment event

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Published by NewlonHousingTrust for Newlon Housing Trust in Communities and also in Local Government

Alex Roach, 22, shares his views on the problem Alex Roach, 22, shares his views on the problem

David Lammy MP gave the keynote speech at a ‘conference with a difference’ at Tottenham Town Hall on 14th February which aimed to help find lasting solutions for youth unemployment in London.

The latest government figures show that one in five 16-24 year olds, nearly a million young people, are currently out of work. As David Lammy highlighted in his speech, a shocking 55% of young black men in London are out of work and areas in north and east London are severely affected.

The event, organised by London-based charity Newlon Fusion, addressed this huge problem in a new way with moving speeches from a panel of young people and a solutions speed-round which drew on the expertise of all 130 delegates.

Many of the speakers focused on small-scale solutions which often prove to be more effective than broader schemes. ‘Macro-solutions aren’t good enough,’ said David Lammy. ‘We need to take action on ground level and work with local organisations familiar with the community.’

Delegates were told about the Young London Working project by Kim Chaplain, Business Development Director from the Mayor’s Fund for London. She urged professionals to connect with the project which aims to use networks and collaboration to build paths to employment for young people, with the Mayor of London as patron. 

Further speeches were heard from Joanna Hills, Operations Director at Construction Youth Trust and Piers Williamson from the Housing Finance Corporation. International speaker, Corné Koppelaar from Global Habitat shared examples of schemes that had good results abroad.

A highlight of the event was hearing from a panel of young people who had each tackled and overcome unemployment. Aaron Carson, age 25, said that ‘young people looking for work are at a key point in their life when they have lots of choices to make. For me, things only really worked out when someone helped me make the right decisions.’ Those present agreed that mentoring and encouragement are now needed more than ever.

So many interesting ideas were shared at the conference that Newlon Fusion are planning to publish a report in March 2013 on the creative opportunities that were uncovered. In addition, they will be firming up the pledges of support made by delegates that will help turn those ideas into action, leading to a more effective response to youth unemployment and ultimately more jobs for London’s young people.

Read more about the day at www.newlonfusion.org.uk/ideas or follow @newlonfusion on Twitter.

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