My heart sank as I watched the news last night and saw that youth unemployment had risen to over 1,000,000 for the first time since 1992. Those children lucky enough to have the benefits of a good education and a stable home life are finding it difficult to secure the right employment. However, the challenges are particularly acute for the many youngsters who are disadvantaged by chaotic home lives, lack of education, low aspirations and low self confidence.
This all brings into sharp focus the important work we do here at RBLI, working with the disadvantaged and vulnerable. We must renew our efforts in these difficult conditions, and ensure that we are able to help, whether through finding work for youngsters on the Work Programme, supporting young service leavers through Future Horizons, or employing apprentices here in our Social Enterprise. We have made a good start but there is much more for us to do and I would like to see a further extension of the support we provide. I am in fact currently looking at how we can increase the number of apprentices within the business, which I believe gives young people valuable experience and their first important step on the career ladder.
Working with Kent County Council and other partners we all have a responsibility to do everything that we can to help this group and I am certain that everyone will rise to the challenge.