These are tough times for everyone, but the impact is most profound on our young people. Periods of unemployment for young people have a much greater effect on their future work prospects, confidence and participation in the labour market than is the case for older people. It is vital that we do everything we can for them at this time of uncertainty.
We will continue to work closely with JobCentre Plus, our colleges, schools and other key stakeholders to reduce the rate of rate of unemployment among young people. We will continue to pursue an active policy that helps open up job opportunities within Lewisham and across London. But we also want local agencies to help young people refocus their skills so that they are more employable in what is a highly competitive labour market in London.
Educational standards in Lewisham are improving year after year. However, we need to increase the pace of improvement still further so that our young people can compete in London’s highly competitive labour market. It is essential that we maximise the life chances of all our children and young people.
We will continue to support our schools to improve results across all stages of primary and secondary education, and to narrow the gap in achievement for our most disadvantaged pupils. We are also facing an acute shortage places at our primary schools, and it is vital that we address this issue despite the lack of Government resources to do so.
We have made steady progress in reducing youth gang activity in Lewisham, but we have more to do to eradicate serious youth violence. There are still too many of our young people who feel unsafe as they travel around the borough and across London.
What more can we do to help improve the opportunities available to our young people? How can we help them find work? What more can we do to keep them safe? We want to hear your ideas.
Every idea that is submitted to the Lewisham Together consultation will receive a response from Lewisham Labour and will feed directly into the development of the manifesto for the 2014 local elections.