Launch of Own Grown campaign to help town’s youth

TODAY sees the launch of a new campaign to encourage businesses in 1066 Country to give young people practical support in starting out in the world of work.

The Own Grown initiative, supported by the Observer, aims to get 1,066 pledges from companies to help young people in a multitude of ways over the next year. It comes on the back of the high unemployment rate in Hastings. There were 3,573 people of working age claiming Jobseekers Allowance in town by the end of December last year.

Businesses can help those under 18 and school leavers in a variety of ways, such as talks at schools about working and developing a career, offering help with CV writing and interview techniques, helping with student projects, such as the engineering challenges, workplace visits and work experience, as well as mentoring a student through regular meetings or support for a young person setting up a new business or self-employment.

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “This is a fantastic initiative and I really welcome it. There are lots of talented young people in Hastings and they need our help crossing the bridge into work. People are getting better education from school and college but what we need to be better at is making the link between young people and jobs. We do have the jobs in Hastings and enthusiastic young people.”

Martin Searle, development manager for the local branch of the Federations of Small Businesses (FSB), who is on the Own Grown project group, said: “There are some basic work-based skills that young people need to be successful in today’s tough job markets. We want to see schools give these skills a higher priority in all teaching from an early stage.”

Businesses can pledge support via, emailing or ringing 01424 451795. See pages 45 to 52 for full details.