Hopes that house building will help boost employment in Adur

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin

The future looks bright in Adur despite a rise in the number of people claiming job seeker’s allowance across the district, according to the jobcentre manager.

Karen Brooks, whose role at the Jobcentre in Bognor Regis also covers Adur, believes upcoming construction work will help boost employment.

Number of people in Adur claiming jobseekers allowance in 2016 and 2017

Number of people in Adur claiming jobseekers allowance in 2016 and 2017

The number of claimants in Adur rose by 16 per cent in the 12 months between December 2016 and December 2017 to a total of 510, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Among young people aged 18 to 24, the number rose by 11 per cent.

But Mrs Brooks said: “I don’t think it’s a significant rise. There’s nothing happening particularly, no large scale redundancies.

“If anything, the labour market in Adur is fairly buoyant.”

The figures reveal that the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fluctuated throughout 2017.

The number of claimants was at its lowest in January at 430.

It increased 24 per cent to a total of 535 claimants in April – the highest during the year.

Among young people aged 18 and 24, the number of claimants was also at its lowest in January at just 75.

This number rose to a peak of 120 in August and September – a rise of 60 per cent.

Mrs Brooks believed these changes throughout the year were due to seasonal work.

House building on the horizon

Going forward, Mrs Brooks said employment prospects looked good thanks to several developments proposed in the area.

She said the job centre was working closely with providers to train people in the Construction Skills Certification Scheme.

“There’s a lot of house building. We are preparing so that people are ready to go into construction jobs,” she said.

She added that developments led to a ‘good knock on effect in terms of cafes and shops’ which meant more potential jobs.

Figures showed that 1.2 per cent of the population in Adur was claiming job seeker’s allowance in December 2017 – which was less than the national figure of 1.9 per cent but more than in the South East, which stood at 1.2 per cent.

Mrs Brooks said: “I think we are lucky down here on the South Coast. There’s a lot of work.”

‘The future is bright’

Overall in the last five years, the total number of claimants in Adur has decreased by 46 per cent.

Councillor Brian Boggis, executive member for regeneration at Adur District Council, said: “I’m pleased to see the general trend is downwards.

“A short reversal doesn’t suggest there is any break.

“We are working hard to improve prospects in the district and there are a number of new developments which will provide employment.”

Caroline Wood, director of Coastal West Sussex Economic Partnership, said: “While there has been a slight rise in unemployment in Adur, the future is extremely bright.

“There are a range of developments coming forward, bringing homes and commercial space on to the market and there is a real push to ensure that places like Shoreham and Lancing take advantage of their growing reputations as centres of manufacturing, developing industries such as engineering, robotics and aviation.

“We are also focused on ensuring Adur has a 21st Century workforce, which is why there’s a real focus on developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills for our young people so they have the right skills to support local businesses.”

Jeremy Barkway, strategic partnership manager at Southern Housing Group, said the recently approved Free Wharf development in Shoreham’s Brighton Road would boost employment in the area.

He said: “As well as employment opportunities, including apprenticeships, we envisage supply-chain benefits will be created during construction.

“We also predict that the commercial spaces for cafes, restaurant and offices will bring an additional 171 full time equivalent jobs to Shoreham Harbour once Free Wharf is completed.”