THE recession has had an impact upon everyone in Northern Ireland, regardless of their background, or where they live. The Limavady area has been hit very hard over recent years, with the loss of around 1,000 jobs alone when the Seagate factory closed.
Along with my party colleagues, I have also been pressing the Justice Minister to ensure that the many jobs located at Magilligan prison are secured through a commitment to the future of that site. Whilst we are looking forward to the benefits of the new DARD headquarters being located in Ballykelly, there are still huge challenges for those seeking work, and particularly for young people.
These challenges are borne out by figures provided to me by the Employment and Learning Minister in response to an Assembly Question I tabled on youth unemployment in Northern Ireland.
Limavady has the highest percentage of young people claiming unemployment-related benefits, standing at 16.7 per cent, a figure which has jumped from a level of 5.5 per cent back in 2006.
Whilst there are large-scale issues which could help address this problem, such as the devolution of Corporation Tax to the Northern Ireland Executive in order to boost inward investment, it is also important that we look at the smaller-scale and more localised assistance which can be offered.
I am determined to do whatever I can to tackle this double-digit rise in youth unemployment and part of that will be the event on Thursday evening in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Main Street, Limavady.
This is a free event, open to all young people and small businesses in the area, where they can get advice and support on finding employment, or in starting up, or expanding their own business.
From 4pm to 6pm there will be people on hand from the Department of Employment and Learning, the Prince’s Trust and Advantage NI to assist with gaining work experience, developing skills and gaining additional qualifications.
It is vital that young people are equipped with all the necessary tools to give them the very best chances as they compete within a very crowded job market.
I hope that this event can provide some useful assistance for those young people seeking work, but for anyone unable to come along there is also help available from Invest NI by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – by phone on 028 9069 8272 or on twitter @InvestNINews #Limavadyjobs.
MP Gregory Campbell