Rosy picture for jobseekers in Fenland. New figures show unemployment is at its lowest since 2007 and apprenticeships are growing

Employment seminar at the Neale Wade Academy recently

Employment seminar at the Neale Wade Academy recently - Credit: Archant

The Fens has the second lowest rate of unemployment in the country, according to latest figures, which reckon the area is now the best it has been financially since 2007.

A steady improvement in small and medium sized companies plus the new business parks in Wisbech have helped paint a rosier picture for employment locally, said Julia Nix, district manager for the East Anglian Job Centre Plus.

She said: “We are back to 2007 and possibly the 1980s, the Maggie Thatcher years. Locally there is a whole variety of reasons.

“Fenland has done really well with the new retail parks especially with the new cinema complex and associated restaurants.

“There’s always going to be seasonal work and agricultural work but there has been a steady increase across many local small and medium businesses which has helped the employment story.”

Also helping is the growing popularity in young people starting apprenticeships.

“It’s not all about a degree. It’s acceptable among young people that apprenticeships are a good way to learn.

Most Read

“Local authorities have made it easier for employers to complete paperwork needed for apprenticeships. There is more business support. The Government is really trying to help. Some employers get financial help.

“The story in Fenland couldn’t be more positive,” she said.

Fenland has an unemployment rate of 5.1% compared with 6.2% a year ago and 8.9% two years ago.

The Orkney Islands have the lowest rate of unemployment nationally at just 2.3% with Middlesborough the worst at 11.7%.

Employment Minister, Priti Patel, said: “Figures show real wages growing at the fastest rate since 2007, and near record numbers of women in work.

“The East of England has the second lowest unemployment rate of any UK region. We want everyone to succeed and achieve their full potential.

“With the Government’s new productivity plan, and introduction of the new living wage, we are ensuring everyone benefits from the economic recovery.”