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'Jobcentres failing youngsters' says Queen Mary College research

PUBLISHED: 14:20 22 December 2011

School-leavers taking part in Queen Mary's Olympics jobs survey for London Citizens

School-leavers taking part in Queen Mary's Olympics jobs survey for London Citizens

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Jobcentres are failing school-leavers and other youngsters searching for work, researchers in London's deprived East End claim.

A survey of 160 jobseekers at recruitment events with Olympics contractors found 40 per cent had never used the government’s Jobcentre network.

Half of those who had used it rated the service as ‘not useful’, according to the researchers from Queen Mary University of London college. Only 20 per cent thought it useful.

One youngster commented that online searches were better “because you don’t have to travel just to be turned down.”

Many said they felt they were ‘just a number’ at the Jobcentre, the researchers from the college’s School of Geography found.

But job fairs organised by London Citizens and the 2012 Olympics committee did well by contrast, with 97 per cent describing them as ‘positive’.

They were keen to get fulltime or even part-time work at next summer’s Games as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and “simply because it’s the Olympics.”

Jane Wills, professor at the School of Geography, said: “The success of Olympic recruitment shows the importance of taking jobs straight to local people and promoting these events in schools and colleges. Youngsters are keen to be a part of the Olympic experience and believe the work they do there will help them find work afterwards.”

A large number in the survey preferred applying for work face-to-face at events like job fairs because they were treated as individuals and had a better chance to show their skills to potential employers.

All those at the events in October and November, such as one held at Queen Mary’s Mile End campus, were from the Olympic ‘host’ boroughs including Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney and Newham. Most were under 20.

The most succesful was at Hackney last month held by Telco, The East London Communities Organisation, part of London Citizens, when all 250 applicants were offered work at the 2012 Olympics.

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