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Wigan Borough bucks the trend (again)
Thursday 13th October, 2011

The number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance has fallen yet again in the borough in September, whilst across Greater Manchester unemployment continued to rise.

Wigan Council’s deputy leader and champion for the economy, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “Wigan Borough continues to make positive progress, both locally and nationally, with reducing unemployment numbers. This is a tribute to the work of council and public and private sector colleagues in supporting firms and individuals and to local people and businesses.”

The number of claimants fell by 79 in September 2011, a reduction of 0.87 per cent on August, whilst in the same month across the Greater Manchester sub-region unemployment rose by 1.43 per cent to a figure of 82,476. Wigan was the only borough across Manchester where the number of Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants actually fell in September 2011.

The BusinessExpo2011 takes place this Friday at Leigh Sports Village. It is an example of an event which has become a regular part of the local economic landscape, supporting local businesses in their growth and job creation. Officers and local business leaders are continuing a close working relationship which has seen Wigan’s economy weather the storm much more successfully that many areas.

Cllr Molyneux adds: “Whilst the figures continue to be positive for us, there are still many challenges we all face as a borough. The council and its partners will continue to do all we can to support local businesses and job creation. Our priority is to keep Wigan resilient in the current economic climate. For all the good news about individuals finding and staying in employment, we are not complacent about working hard for those not yet with jobs.”

Youth unemployment figures are traditionally higher in September because school and college leavers sign on to Job Seekers’ Allowance. This has led to a rise in unemployment amongst 18-24 year olds during September 2011 which has been further affected the conclusion of the Future Jobs Fund initiative. The figures are however the third lowest in Greater Manchester.

“We are continuing to support young people as the Future Jobs Fund finishes,” says Cllr Molyneux. “60 percent of those finishing are moving into employment, mostly within the private sector. A substantial number of young people are being supported through the apprenticeship programme. The recent approval for Wigan University technical College will also bring positive opportunities for our young people and of course, in the last two years, Wigan Council itself took on 48 apprentices.”

Help and support available from the council and its partners for people who are looking for work or to improve their circumstances and prospects includes:
  • For residents with an entrepreneurial fleur, free business start up support is available from Blue Orchid. The council has been instrumental in supporting the creation of over 450 new businesses in Wigan.

  • The Skills Shops are located in the Grand Arcade, Wigan (tel 01942 827826) and Market Street, Leigh (tel 01942 404456). Anybody interested in accessing the support available through the Skills Shops should telephone or call in to make an appointment to meet with an advisor.

  • Support is available from Inspire 2 Independence who work with major employers in the area to identify vacancies and match people to the most appropriate job. They also assist people to create or update their Curriculum Vitae and offer training in how to be successful in interviews.

  • I2I work with local employers to identify job vacancies and then match local people to those vacancies based on their experience, skills, qualifications and aspirations. Tel: 01942 218738.

  • Blue Orchid deliver tailored support to Wigan Borough residents to help them start up a business. Tel: 01942 862832.

For more information about the support available, go to the Way to Work website: www.way-to-work.co.uk

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