Youth unemployment in Thurrock is high, well above the regional average. We also have significant numbers of NEETs (Not in Education Employment or Training). In September 2011 8.5% of 16-19 year olds were NEET compared to the national average of 7.3%.
Perhaps the major contributor to this problem is the low skills base which exists within the adult population. When we compare Thurrock’s skills performance to the other areas in the Thames Gateway it becomes apparent that Thurrock is consistently significantly behind its geographical neighbours at all skills levels and has the highest percentage of population with no qualifications.
Thurrock is now at a turning point. With planned private sector investment (through London Gateway development, Lakeside and Port of Tilbury expansion) likely to increase commercial floor space in the borough by 60% over the next 10 to 15 years and provide upwards of 20,000 new jobs. The challenge is to make sure that Thurrock residents are at the forefront of the skilled workforce that will take up these new jobs.
The Urbact project will provide a focus to address this challenge through the preparation of a detailed baseline, the formation of a Local Support Group of key stakeholders and the development of a pragmatic action plan.