Carole Crosby Liverpool Chamber of Commerce deputy chief executive, tells Channel 4 News that companies are expecting to recruit within the next three months – and why a government enterprise scheme has been such a success.
Gross weekly pay – £498.1 / £500 UK average JSA claimants – 7.3 per cent / 4.1 per cent UK average Vacancies per 10,000 – 193 / 72 UK average JSA claimants per unfilled vacancy – 3.8 / 5.7 UK average
Unemployment rate – 12.2 per cent / 8.4 UK average
Carole Crosby Liverpool Chamber of Commerce deputy chief executive: We represent the views, needs and interests of our 1700 members and affiliates, as well as the wider business community of Merseyside.
Figures from our quarterly business survey of 381 firms in the city-region for the first three months of this year tell an encouraging story, despite a difficult year. Many companies expect to recruit in the quarter, with the manufacturing sector remaining particularly optimistic after a difficult few months.
Liverpool Futures is a bespoke company which was recently established in conjunction with Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Community College and the award-winning community housing group, the Eldonians. Through this vehicle, we are hoping to provide apprenticeships – helping both local employers and our job-seeking workforce.
We are currently aiming to place 100 apprentices with Merseyside firms by the end of April next year. The Chamber’s Training division also offers a range of additional welfare-to-work programmes including the National Apprenticeship Programme and, until recently, the Graduate Retention Programme and National Enterprise Allowance scheme.
Success of business scheme for jobseekers
One heartening success story in Liverpool is that of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) – a government scheme to encourage unemployed job seekers to help start their own business. It was launched in Liverpool by employment minister Chris Grayling in January 2011, with our city region piloting the scheme.
One year on from the launch last year, the results were (and continue to be) highly impressive. 1,495 clients have been referred across Merseyside by Job Centre Plus, of whom 87 per cent attended the opening sessions, leading to 510 new business starts by December last year. Of the earliest starts, more than 81 per cent have survived beyond six months and we have almost 150 volunteer mentors.