Huge fall in young St Helens jobseekers

A Jobcentre Plus
A Jobcentre Plus
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The number of young people on out-of-work benefits in St Helens has plummeted, official figures reveal.

The total of 635 people aged 18 to 24 claiming in the town in December was a massive 14 per cent drop from the figure recorded 12 months ago.

The town's overall figure of 2,890 jobseekers in the latest labour market statistics, is also a four per cent decrease since December 2016.

The new numbers mean the town continued to have fewer than 3,000 needing out-of-work assistance after the November figure dipped below that mark for the first time in more than four years.

Although the Jobcentre Plus could not rule out temporary festive working swelling the numbers in employment it was quietly confidence the number of people needing benefits would not surge again in the coming months.

Jobcentre Plus spokesman Alan Harrison said: "We are now coming into a peak recruiting period. December figures can sometimes be enhanced by Christmas recruitment but firms are talking to us now about their spring and summer needs.

"What we have found in the past is that up to 30 per cent of seasonal staff are retained and when companies follow up their recruitment Christmas workers are often guaranteed an interview.

"The best indicator of the jobs market is the 18-to-24-year-olds and that looks very positive. On top of that vacancies are up again."

Mr Harrison said the Jobcentre Plus has been working on an innovative project with St Helens' hospital trust to get ex-military personnel into roles in the NHS.

An open day is being held at Whiston Hospital on March 8.

The move comes from behind-the-scenes work by the Ministry of Defence and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which is keen to use the medical knowledge from the armed forces on civvy street.

St Helens College is also expanding its range of courses on offer and high street names including McDonald's and Barclays are recruiting, the latter for its call centres.

Other opportunities include regular recruitment drives in 2018 by Merseytravel and call centre work as far afield as Kirkby for those able to travel.

Anyone interested in attending the day on NHS employment for ex-service personnel can book a place