Young people in Herefordshire have urged MPs to tackle youth unemployment as national figures hit record numbers.
Twenty-one-year-old Abbie Baynham, who lives at the Ross Foyer run by Herefordshire Supported Housing for Young People Project (SHYPP), was one of seven young people from across England who met a group of MPs at the House of Commons to talk about youth unemployment on Friday, December 9.
The meeting was organised by the Foyer Federation, which helps young people who need support and advice to overcome barriers in their lives by developing the skills, opportunities and resources they need to thrive. It was hosted by Karen Lumley MP for Redditch.
Following a report commissioned by the Foyer Federation ‘Youth Labour’s Lost’, young people and MPs discussed issues raised in the report as well as their own experiences of youth unemployment, which is at a 15-year high with one million young people out of work.
The report highlighted barriers preventing young people getting jobs, including a lack of career guidance, financial hardship, ability to travel, and the importance of positive role models.
Abbie, who has lived at the Ross Foyer for eight months after leaving home, said: “It was a great opportunity to meet other young people who are in the same situation. We were able to talk to the MPs about how difficult it is as a young person to get a job because employers want older people with experience.
“We also explained to them how hard it is to live on £50 Job Seekers Allowance per week and pay rent which is added pressure when you’re looking for work. They seemed quite shocked at what we are expected to live on and so are going to raise the issues in the House of Commons.”
Joel Attar, from the Foyer Federation, said: “The experiences of Foyer residents across our network reinforce the issues highlighted in Youth Labour’s Lost.
With ever-increasing youth unemployment, it is critical that we create these forums for young people to voice their experience of the labour market so that we develop new ways to invest in opening young people’s talents.’’