Brent’s youth sign charter calling for action on unemployment crisis

Event in Harlesden was organised by Trades Union Congress and Brent Youth TUC

Young people from across Brent singed up to a charter this weekend calling on the government to take urgent action over the borough’s youth unemployment crisis.

The signing of the charter formed part of a rally in Harlesden, on Saturday, December 8, addressing issues of unemployment.

In Brent, nearly seven per cent of 16-24-year-olds are claiming job seekers allowance while just 3.75 per cent of young people have found long term employment, through the government’s Work Programme.

A minimum target of 5.2 per cent was outlined for this point in the scheme.

The event, organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Brent Youth TUC encouraged 16-27 to talk about issues facing them and how to take action.

David Braniff-Herbert, the local TUC organizer, said: “It’s clear from Saturdays workshop that young people in Brent feel exploited by the government’s youth contract and instead want a youth charter based around fairness and quality.”

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The charter, called A Future That Works, which was signed by everyone who attended, called for focus on five points. A job guarantee including paid work or training for anyone out of work for six months or more, encouraging public bodies to recruit a set number of apprentices each year, access to good quality work experience, welfare reform and practical support to help young people stay in education and afford costs of travel to work.

Cllr Krupa Sheth (Lab), who helped to organise the event at the Harlesden Methodist Church, said: “Saturday’s discussions showed that the young people are capable of accomplishing great things.

“The government isn’t allowing them to show their true potential. They need everyone to work together to provide them with a “future that works”.

Cllr, Zaffar Van Kalwala (Lab), a Stonebridge ward councilor, added: “Young people in Brent have huge potential and talent. What they need are opportunities – and, for that, they need public, private and voluntary organisations to work in new ways.”

It was also agreed to arrange a campaign with young people to take the charter and ask the council, local businesses, MPs and the voluntary sector to sign-up to its aims and objectives.