Sunday, May 18, 2014
Norwich MP Chloe Smith has won a prestigious national award for her work in leading a campaign to drive down youth unemployment.
Ms Smith had been shortlisted among 70 candidates for the second Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award, which recognises UK-based politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level.
She learned of her success at an awards ceremony at the Mayfair Hotel, London, on Thursday.
Her award comes in the same week as the number of young people found work or apprenticeships by the Norwich For Jobs campaign climbed to 905.
Ms Smith launched the two-year campaign in January last year and is already in sight of reaching the goal of cutting youth unemployment by 1,000.
She said: “The statistics are extremely strong and show what this project has achieved. I would urge any businesses who have not already – pledged their support to do so.
“However, this is not just about the numbers. Through the innovation of our young persons panel and our employers panel, we are getting employers to work more closely with jobseekers to find ways of offering support for those struggling to gain employment.”
The project’s simple formula has been to encourage local businesses to invest in young people, connect job seekers with opportunities to gain skills and employment and focus the collective efforts of the whole community.
Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, director of Grassroot Diplomat – a non-profit diplomatic consultancy that aims to bridge the gap between civil society and political leaders – said: “The award illustrates that we do have government representatives that actively work on meeting the people’s needs and we must focus on bringing more positive role models into society and diminish negative news.”
The campaign’s success has led to other places, including Tower Hamlets in London and Ipswich, to emulate the networking model and even resulted in a fact-finding trip to Norwich by a group of Tanzanian MPs.