Trust offers hope to city's vulnerable young people

THE stark reality for many young people in Greater Glasgow is that they fear the future, with no job, little money and, in some cases, major self loathing,

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Dylan Stacks has found work in a city restaurant
Dylan Stacks has found work in a city restaurant

THE stark reality for many young people in Greater Glasgow is that they fear the future, with no job, little money and, in some cases, major self loathing,

A total of 15% of young women from Scotland reported one of more of these issues as a direct result of unemployment, compared to 11% of young men.

The report, by the Prince's Trust Macquarie Youth Index, also revealed 30% of young people in the city said they 'always' or 'often' feel down or depressed.

It showed the long-term unemployed were significantly more likely to feel this way. Nearly one-in-five young people in the city say they feel like an 'outcast.'

Dylan Stacks, 16, from Rutherglen, left school at 15 with few qualifications and struggled to find work.

He did a college course in baking, cookery and sugar work but failed and was unable to secure a job.

He said: "I tried and tried but I just got knocked back. I felt like my life was on hold. I was sitting in a house but I couldn't get a job because I was too young and didn't have enough experience."

At school Dylan struggled due to dyslexia and felt his school did not provide enough support. He is passionate about cookery and wanted to pursue a career as a chef.

Dylan joined The Get into Cooking programme run by The Prince's Trust and gained the skills he needed to work in a kitchen. They organised for him to get work experience at a city centre restaurant and he has never looked back.

He said: "My experience at school wasn't good at all. One parents' night my cookery teacher told my mum I would never get anywhere with cooking. I wanted to prove them wrong."

Xavier Walker, 23, came to Glasgow a year ago to find work after being made redundant from his job at a hotel where he lived with his mum in Elgin, Moray.

He moved in with his aunt Linda Taylor, 60, in Bishopriggs and set about searching for work. Every day he got up early and spent hours handing out CVs to businesses across the city. But no one got back to him and Xavier, who now lives in Townhead, began to lose confidence and feel low.

He said: "When I was struggling to find work I felt less confident and wanted to give up and go home, but my auntie kept me going."

Xavier's aunt suggested he contact the Princes Trust and two weeks later he was enrolled on their Get into Hospitality course, a vocational programme offering practical training and work experience to help them to get a job.

Xavier completed the course in September and, armed with his new skills, secured work as a waiter at a city centre venue.

He said: "I feel I have become a lot more confident. The experience has been life changing."

Across the UK more than 750,000 young people believe they have nothing to live for, the report warns.

Nationally one-in-three long-term unemployed young people have contemplated suicide, while one in four have self-harmed. And they are more than twice as likely as their peers to have been prescribed anti-depressants.

The report, based on interviews with 2,161 16-to-25-year-olds across the UK, showed a 243% increase in the number of young people claiming benefits for more than six months since the beginning of the recession.

In the last year, the number of unemployed young people has dropped by more than a quarter.

In November 2013, 4250 young people, aged between 18 and 24, were out of work in Glasgow compared to 5810 in the same month in 2012.

Of this year's figures , a total of 2835 have been unemployed for six months, with 615 unemployed for between six and 12 months, while 800 were out of work for more than 12 months.

But, Allan Watt, Prince's Trust Scotland director, said those who remained out of work could not be ignored.

He said: "While we welcome the decrease in the numbers of young people who are out of work in Glasgow, we cannot ignore the thousands still unemployed and who have been for months and in some case years.

"Long-term youth unemployment in Glasgow has risen by over 100% since 2008 and the Youth Index shows the devastating effect this can have on the mental health and wellbeing of young people across the city.

"We want them to know their situation is not as hopeless as it may feel, The Prince's Trust helps young people into work, education and business every day, these young people are not alone and they should not struggle alone."

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