England

UK unemployment: 'There doesn't seem to be any future'

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that UK unemployment stands at 2.67 million, a rise of 48,000 in the three months to December.

BBC News Online spoke to some of those without a job, who had gathered in Salford to discuss the issue on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Jackie Stewart, 56, from Rochdale - unemployed since June 2011

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption "There doesn't seem to be any future at all"

Ex-youth and community worker Jackie Stewart said being made redundant "had a massive impact on my lifestyle".

"We've gone from being relatively comfortably off to living off credit and I'm really scared about where this is going," she said.

"I thought that by my age, I'd be able to relax.

"I've worked all my life, brought six children up, retrained and got myself re-educated, only to find that not only am I unemployed, but the whole industry I worked in just doesn't exist.

"When I went to the job centre, they said the only thing for me is to set up my own business.

"There's nowhere to go, no jobs and there doesn't seem to be any future at all."

Matt Whale, 19, from Hull - left college in July 2010

Teenager Matt Whale said he had had only one temporary job since leaving college in 2010 and that he had "no job prospects whatsoever".

He said the state of the employment market was "an absolute disgrace" and was angry about what he saw as the widening gap between those at the top and those out of work.

"We've seen bankers getting record bonuses, bosses raking in profits, and yet young people are being turned into a lost generation," he said.

"We're being thrown on the scrapheap. The future is looking very bleak."

Anna Young, from York - unemployed for "quite a number of years"

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption "It's pretty appalling out there"

Wheelchair user Anna Young said the current problems in the employment market had made life especially difficult for disabled job seekers.

She said that despite having degrees in law, philosophy and psychology, she had still been unable to find work because there were no suitable jobs.

"It's all very well saying there are jobs out there, there are also people who are not suitable," she said.

"When you've got a wheelchair, it's much more difficult to find work, so in fact you've got to try harder.

"However, I think it's pretty appalling out there and we need employers that can create jobs."

Tammy Downsworth, from Manchester - unemployed for 17 months

Former civil servant Tammy Downsworth said she spent "some days exhausting all the jobs that I'm eligible to apply for - that's 20 or 30 jobs in a day".

"The main frustration is applying online. You end up sending off as many applications as you can be bothered doing [but] you very rarely get any feedback," she said.

She said she would like to see more support from the job centre in "retraining or updating your skills".

"I was a first aider for years at work, that certificate has run out and I can't get that renewed," she said.

"They're nice people, but you don't get the help or the funding that you need."

Adam Armendariz, 24, from Manchester - unemployed for a year

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Image caption "There's so many people out there trying to get jobs"

Adam Armendariz has recently started a university course after being unemployed for 12 months, but said that he was not sure the degree would "give me that much of an advantage" on completion.

He said that, in terms of qualifications, those searching for jobs were all on a level, making it difficult to stand out from the crowd.

"As a university student, I am quite apprehensive about what it is going to be like when I graduate," he said.

"There's so many people out there - graduates and non-graduates - trying to get jobs.

"I don't feel that having a degree will give me that much of an advantage."

David Harris, 65, from Sheffield - retired in 2011

David Harris said a major concern within the job market was the government's policy of encouraging people to work longer.

He said that by asking people to work longer, it was not freeing up positions for young people to come into.

"The emphasis should be on bringing younger people into the job market," he said.

"I want the government to put in place a system where employers can release older workers and have some incentive to take on younger workers as a preference.

"Older workers should be encouraged to continue to contribute and be part of society, but in a range of voluntary ways."

Anthony Bradley, 35, from Manchester - made redundant in August

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Image caption "The young people I worked with are in a far worse position than I am"

Anthony Bradley lost his job in August after working for a local authority for 12 years as a careers adviser.

He said the "employment market is dire" and that "the sector I worked for has been decimated by the austerity measures".

"The young people that I worked with are in a far worse position than I am," he said.

"Those basic things, like a mortgage and a car, they won't be able to look forward to that.

"It seems to me that the communities and the people who need those services the most, those that are deprived and vulnerable, are being hit the worst."

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