LESS than 4% of Thurrock Council staff are aged 16 – 24, despite recent census figures showing over 10% of residents are in this age range.
The figures, revealed at a recent council committee meeting, show the council is missing its target of having 5% of staff from this age range. However Chafford councillor Charlie Key, a Conservative councillor on the committee, has questioned whether the target is high enough.
Cllr Key said “Everybody is concerned about youth unemployment, so the council’s low target for employing young people is disappointing. I am one of several councillors under 24, more than 5% in fact, and I know many young people who are passionate about what they do and could drive the council forward if they were part of our staff.
“All jobs should be awarded on merit, but there is bags of talent in our young people, leaving schools and colleges across Thurrock. Thurrock Council is well placed to capitalise on that. We should not be afraid to bang the drum for the young and give them the opportunities they deserve.
“Though we are currently not far short of the council’s official target, the target is not high enough. We need to ensure the target next year is to double the number of young staff employed by our council.”
Cllr Key has a point and it is important that young residents are given better chances. There is a need to promote opportunity in the borough and the policy of promoting diversity extended to giving young people more work opportunities in the borough. Not every young person wants to go to university. Many want a job after leaving school and the council should play a role in making this happen. When there are no jobs or opportunities people will as usual label these young people as layabouts, but what they need is a job and things to do. There is very little of both in Thurrock.
A good point raised but you do have to be careful having quotas for things like age, race, religion etc. If someone can do the job then these factors shouldn’t really matter. Having said that the council should look to younger people in some of the more basic roles where they can learn from the bottom up and may become a valuable asset to the council in years to come.
Cllr Key could always ask his party leaders not to take so much money from the councils budget then perhaps some apprenticeships and courses for younger people would be possible.
Yes, because it is impossible for young people to make a valuable contribution on equal terms, they need to be siphoned off into apprenticeships and courses and generally have money thrown at them (!)