Friday, July 31, 2009

Lawson Group supports call to combat youth unemployment in Swindon

With towns and cities all over the country feeling the effects of the recession, Swindon has featured in a recent series on Recession Britain in The Daily Telegraph’s Saturday magazine. The article, which appeared on Saturday 25th July focused on youth unemployment, a big local issue which Lawson Group is committed to supporting.

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics in March, the number of people on Job Seekers Allowance in Swindon had risen from 2,000 (1.7%) to 6,300 (5.3%) over the space of a year. This was the highest overall increase in the country, and the first time Swindon, which in 2007 boasted the biggest growth in new businesses in the UK, has passed the national average of 5.2%.

Part of the investigation featured students from Swindon College, who were voicing their own concerns about finding employment after studying vocational courses. Paddy Bradley, Director of Education for Swindon, noted “In an earlier age, apprenticeships would have provided both employment opportunities and skills training for non-academic school leavers”. But as one of the vocational teachers at Swindon College quizzed for the article explained "Very few companies now take on apprentices, because they don’t want the responsibility. Everybody wants trained and qualified people, but they don’t want to pay for their training”.

Claire Wilson, HR Manager at Lawson Group believes that in order to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Swindon, companies have to look further than the short term. As she explains “At Lawson Group, we believe that by taking on apprentices and encouraging staff to train as part of their jobs we are not only helping local young people further their careers; we are also adding to the value of the business by having staff that are working for us at the same time as expanding their own knowledge and learning for the future”.

As well as developing an apprentice program to help local youngsters, Lawson Group are also keen supporters of the regeneration project featured in the article which, it is hoped in turn will help to bring more opportunities to the local area. As Peter James, the Chief Executive of the New Swindon Company explains “Regeneration is vital to Swindon, to keep existing companies in town and encourage new ones to come in. Because they are the companies that will be employing Swindon’s young”.

Director of Lawson Group Martin Wilson strongly agrees. As a local resident as well as businessman, he commented “As a company, we are committed not just to growing our own business, but helping to grow our local community. We are pleased to be able to offer apprenticeships, as well as many other employment and training opportunities and we hope that other business will consider doing the same. Swindon has a lot to offer and by encouraging and helping young people to get on their feet, and by bringing new opportunities into the town through regeneration we are ensuring it continues to be a great place to live in the future”.

To read the full article featured in Saturday 25th July’s Telegraph magazine, please click here.

For more information on opportunities at Lawson Group, please click here.