THE number of unemployed people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance in Arun has fallen dramatically in the last year, fresh figures have revealed.
In the past 12 months, the district has seen a boom in the number of people gaining employment and no longer needing the benefit.
The news came after the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) statistics, unveiled last Wednesday, showed that employment rate in the UK had hit an all time record high.
In Arun there has been a 31 per cent drop in the total number of people receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance since February 2014, with 1169 recorded this year compared to 1,694 people previously.
While in Littlehampton, there was a reduction of just over a third, down from 720 people to 475.
However, the largest drop has been seen in young people aged between 18 and 24, with a dramatic 42 per cent reduction across the district over last year’s figures, with a larger decrease noted in Littlehampton, with only 115 young people receiving the benefit last month, compared to 210 in February 2014, a dip of 45 per cent.
The news has been welcomed by Arun District Council, which has been working together with the town’s job centre to improve the employment rate of the area.
Miriam Nicholls, business development manager at the council, said the figures were a promising endorsement of the action plan to get more people into work experience placements.
“This is really helping to break that circle when you put your CV in and the employer looks at it and says that you haven’t got enough experience.
“So it’s great news because it means companies are receptive to taking on people for work experience, who may not have the appropriate qualifications but the enthusiasm and ability to learn.”
Steve Wood, the DWP’s relationship manager for coastal West Sussex said employers often offered jobs or good references to those on work placements.
He denied the taster sessions were being used by companies as a means of getting cheap, free labour.
“We only use reputable employers that don’t do this,” he stressed.
He explained that everyday more than 100 job vacancies were available in the Littlehampton area.
He said the job centre was also seeing promising results finding employment for those over 50, with similar job trial days in operation.
For help in finding a job, visit the centre, in Church Street, Littlehampton, or call 0845 604 3719.