Rotherham careers service job cuts halved

By Phil Turner | 21/02/2011 0 comments

Rotherham careers service job cuts halved

THE number of Rotherham careers advisers facing redundancy has been halved, although the service still faces a 15% cut in its budget.

News that 15 jobs were to go at Connexions sparked protests by young people all over Rotherham.

The service, which only opened new premises in Effingham Square in October, works with young people aged 13 to 19 to help them to find work or training.

The workers’ union UNISON has welcomed the reduction on job losses, but condemned the cuts.

Melanie Onn, from UNISON, which represents 90 per cent of staff, said: “We’re pleased that UNISON’S lobbying has been effective and there has been a reduction in the level of cuts.

“Our concern is that our members’ requests are not being considered through the union.

“We’re open to having discussions with them and we would hope they have a more open approach to us as well.”

UNISON said Connexions personal advisers provided careers advice in schools, colleges and the community and worked with vulnerable young people to address issues of unemployment, family relationships and barriers to learning. 

The cuts specifically targeted young people most in need of public service support, the union said.

The union said the Government cuts were an “act of gross vandalism” and “a slap in the face” for the hard work carried out by staff.

Staff have been finding work, training and college places for Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training, known as NEETS.

A council spokesman said: “We can now confirm that the Connexions budget is facing an overall reduction of 15 per cent.

“It is our intention to preserve front-line services providing prevention and early intervention and we are in discussion with our Connexions service provider (Prospects) regarding minimising the impact of reductions on information advice and guidance services for young people. 

“Prospects are currently in consultation with staff and as yet no final details are available regarding redundancy.

“The Government’s Education White Paper also indicated a move to a guidance service for all ages by April 2013 so we need to reflect this change in our services in the future."

“Connexions has been successful in helping achieve some major improvements in those numbers. As of October, the number of NEETs stood at its lowest level for four years and had reduced by 17 per cent on the 2009 figure.

“Although we have to be realistic about what funding is now available for services, we are committed to the work of Connexions and its work with the Youth Service and early intervention teams to offer an impartial careers service to young people and extra support to those young people who face significant barriers to achieve their potential.”

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