Dermot McBride, a student studying Creative Media Production (Journalism) in Derry, Northern Ireland, writes an opinion piece for TheEmployable on the difficulties that job applicants face in finding a desirable job.
“The first thing we must do is find a job in the desired sector. The current recession means this in itself is like finding a needle in a haystack. Chances are people will not find their dream job. They will probably end up applying for something that they are not that keen on, because that’s all that’s out there. This is understandable as there are bills to be paid and they need to make a living. So they send off their curriculum vitae and wait…. and wait… and wait.
A few months down the line the person will have applied for other jobs with similar results. As there are so many people applying for positions, the days of getting the ‘Dear John’ letter are gone. If a person is unsuccessful in gaining the job or even an interview, they will figure this out in time. This is how the system works now.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Derry has risen by 10% in the last year. It is the highest in the North earning Derry the unwanted title of The Dole Capital of Northern Ireland. Figures released last year show that the Foyle area has a total of 2,145 people aged 16-25 claiming benefits. This accounts for 10% of all people claiming in Northern Ireland.
Claimant Count – August 2012
* In August 2012 there were 6,227 unemployment claimants in Derry~Londonderry, this represents 8.7% of the working age population in the area (the rate for NI is 5.6%)
* The Strand and Diamond wards have the highest proportion of claimants (17.4% and 16.8% respectively) within Derry~Londonderry while Ballynashallog has the lowest proportion of claimants (4.1%)
Source: DETI Claimant Count
A study by the commercial property agency Lisney has found a vacancy rate of 18.7% for Derry shops, that’s almost one in five. The city centre is beginning to look like a ghost town. New shops open and close within six months as they cannot sustain themselves. The only survivors seem to be bookmakers and pawnshops/money lenders. This does not really help our community.
As life gets harder, people like to indulge more. Cigarette and alcohol companies thrive as people seek short term pleasures to release them from their day to day pressures. Demand has also increased for gambling at this time with bookies on every corner and new poker websites popping up all the time.
Bookmakers have been on our high street for a long time so it would be unfair to point the finger solely at them. Payday lenders are having a massive impact in modern society. People seek help from them believing their problems will be solved. This may not be the case.
One of the major money lending companies Representative APR is 4214%. This is basically the percentage you will pay back on the amount you borrow. So, with this particular company a loan of £400 will lead to a total payback of £489.49.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has recently investigated these companies and found that there has been widespread irresponsible lending. They are giving people money they can’t afford to pay back, so they will have to take another loan out on top of the one they have. People will leave themselves forever in debt.
We were told last year that £40million had been allocated to improve the work situation in the North. Short work experience placements have popped up but these really have done nothing to aid the community. Many of these work placements can be unpaid and only available to a younger age group.”