Some weeks ago the Sentinel published an article full of optimism for the wave of much needed jobs that are to hit the North Staffs economy. This immediately heartened me. As people are aware the local economy has been badly hit in recent years and currently they are many thousands of people without work. In Stoke there are over 8,000 people on the dole.
I therefore looked the jobs section of the Sentinel with interest. But if there is a jobs bonanza there is little evidence from the most recent jobs section
I realise that not all local jobs will be advertised in the paper. A number of companies will use their own websites. However of the 218 vacancies I would say that about half are short term or part time. In the 7 pages there were also organisations advertising courses and apprenticeships as well as volunteering opportunities. A number of agencies such as Forrest, Gap and Proactive also advertised. On a more positive note potbanks and engineering companies advertised although one ceramic company was based in Lancashire.
The point of this exercise was to confirm a thought that I have had about job creation which is confirmed in the national data. Many of the jobs that are replacing the long term and full time jobs are neither. A recent interview on the news of a man who had lost his job and had 3 temporary jobs to replace the permanent one lost is a graphic personal account of the problem. Pay is another matter with only minimum wage only on offer.
This is no way to build a vibrant economy or to provide work that is sustainable. What is the point of offering work to unemployed people that might only last a month?
One way out of this predicament is by developing self-employment as an option but of course the long-term unemployed are likely to have access to capital to develop ideas. The Government hopes to encourage 40,000 people to begin the path towards self-employment but these issues need to be addressed