The number of young people not in education employment or training has dropped by more than 3,000 in Northampton in just over a year as a result of the Alive project, a town MP claimed today.
Around 40 projects have been attributed to the regeneration scheme launched by Northampton South MP Brian Binley in March 2012, including the town’s new train station, the Waterside university campus and the new county council headquarters dubbed Project Angel.
But giving one of his last addresses as an MP to around 100 business representatives at the Guildhall today, Mr Binley claimed figures showed the various regeneration schemes had helped reduce NEETS (young people not in education, employment or training) from 4,600 to around 1,500 since this time last year.
He said: “We can’t afford for our young people to spend six years on the dole.
“It’s not good for their quality of life and it’s not good for the society they live in.
“The number of NEETs is now well down below 1,500 and Northampton Alive has played a sizeable part in that.
We can’t afford for our young people to spend six years on the doleBrian Binley MP
“Northampton Enterprise Zone alone has created more than 1,000 jobs.”
Mr Binley said that he said that in the beginning of 2014 the Alive project members created ‘Challenge 2016’, a policy to try and get 2,000 young people into employment or training before 2016.
But he said the scheme has been more successful than envisaged.
“We set that figure because we felt that NEETs figure was much too high.
“What the Alive programme has done is create jobs.
“We’ve been in contact with businesses encouraging them to take apprenticeships and there has been a general employment growth through the Enterprise Zone.”
The exhibition at the Guildhall today saw the leaders of the Northampton borough and Northamptonshire county council give updates on the 40 projects underway so far under the Northampton Alive brand.
Such projects have included the building of the new centre of excellence for motor racing experts Cosworth, which was part financed by Northampton Borough Council, and the expansion of Church’s footwear on St James’ Road.
Borough council leader Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) also announced three new projects today.
He said that both a Starbucks coffee house and pan-Asian restaurant chain Cosmo are set to take up units in Market Square in Northampton.
A free wi-fi scheme will be launched on Abington Street form the end of March also.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Binley said that Northampton Alive is the thing he is ‘most proud of’ since taking the Northampton South seat in 2005.
Though he is stepping down as an MP in May, Mr Binley will remain vice-chairman of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP).