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North-east unemployment plunging faster than national average

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The number of people out of work and seeking employment in Aberdeen city and shire is falling at a faster pace than the Scottish average.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of unemployed people in Scotland fell by 3,000 to 97,000 during the quarter to April, down by 30,000, or 23.6%, year-on-year.

The unemployment rate north of the border is at 3.5%, lower than the UK average of 3.8%.

And the number of people employed in Scotland has hit 2.6million – up 8,000 year-on-year.

National unemployment figures cover jobseekers who are claiming both Universal Credit (UC) and council tax/housing benefit relief.

Aberdeen joblessness down 38%, shire’s total 43% lower

On the alternative claimant count measure of unemployment, covering all those actively seeking work, joblessness in Aberdeen plunged 38% year-on-year, to 5,779.

The latest total for 18 to 24-year-old claimants in Aberdeen is down by 46% on an annual basis, to 844.

Aberdeenshire has seen an even sharper decline in unemployment, with the total claimant count down by 43% year-on-year, to 3,691, and the 18 to 24-year-old group 51% smaller, at 579.

We are actively supporting customers with vocational training in sectors such as security, transport, hospitality, care and construction.”

Paul Walsh, employer and partnership manager at the Aberdeen Jobcentre, said the big year-on-year improvement in the city and shire was in no small part due to a variety of initiatives to get more local people into jobs and also to employers “buying in” to these.

He added: “We are actively supporting customers with vocational training in sectors such as security, transport, hospitality, care and construction.

“We are also continuing to work with local and national employers and partners to highlight the skill set and talent pool that is available within our customer base at DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and through initiatives like Way to Work.”

Rapidly filling vacancies is the main thrust of the recently launched Way to Work campaign, which seeks to fill a record number of vacancies with “job-ready” recruits.

Targeted mainly at those claiming UC, jobs fairs play a key role in delivery – short-circuiting the recruitment process by bringing jobseekers face to face with employers.

Care sector jobs fair

A jobs fair focusing on the care sector has been organised for Thursday April 21 at the Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen.

A string of leading local and national companies will be there looking to attract new talent to the sector.

Aberdeen Jobcentre has also launched a new Youth Hub, in partnership with North East Scotland College, which aims to help  young jobseekers access local training and job opportunities, as well as a range of services to address their wellbeing needs.

Meanwhile, DWP staff are working with Aberdeenshire Council to get more people onto the Long Term Unemployed Scheme, which delivers employability skills and valuable work experience for those aged 25 and over.

A number of new initiatives are helping more people in the Highlands to also find work.

Elma Hall, employer and partnership manager at DWP’s Invergordon office, said: “Some employers have agreed to forego an online application form if their customers have CVs and can send them directly to a recruitment person, so we are having some successes through those conversations.

“Obviously they will have various recruitment policies and we can only ask them to do what they can do – we can’t insist. We are having some successes and it has made some real difference.”

Widespread challenge

In tandem with the rest of the UK, many employers in the Inverness area – particularly those in the hospitality sector – are struggling to fill vacancies.

Ms Hall added: “I deal with other parts of northern Scotland and there are the same challenges.

“The Inverness team is currently working with Highland Council to come up with a supportive mechanism for trying to fill some of the hospitality vacancies.

“We are also looking at working with the likes of Highland Council, Schools Development Scotland and Developing the Young Workforce.”

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