Job cuts hit support staff for Bristol teenagers
A SERVICE that helps teenagers find jobs and college courses is being cut back – with 55 staff set to lose their jobs.
Learning Partnership West needs to make cuts totalling £2.3 million in the current financial year after its funding was slashed by the coalition Government.
LPW runs a number of schemes but it is the Connexions youth service that will be affected.
Connexions is an advice service for young people aged 13 to 19, offering support in a range of areas but specialising in education, training and employment.
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It currently has five offices in the Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and B&NES local authority areas but some of these may close as a result of the cuts.
The 55 job losses are nearly a third of the 180 people employed by Connexions West, and they are expected to include some frontline staff.
Operating hours may also have to be cut back and the service may have to reduce the amount of face-to-face advice it gives young people.
The head office is in Colston Avenue, Bristol, with the four other branches in: Gloucester Road North, Filton; High Street, Kingswood; Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare; and Bath Road, Peasedown St John.
Connexions is funded by the four local authorities, but the Government has reduced the area-based grant that funds the service as part of the £6 billion of spending cuts aimed at starting to tackle the nation's budget deficit.
In 2009/10 Bristol City Council spent £3.48m on Connexions but in the current financial year that has been cut back to £2.74m.
South Gloucestershire spent £1.98m last year and £1.92m in 2010/11 but has proposed to cut a further £238,000 this year.
Bath and North East Somerset spent £1.37m last year and plans to spend £1.26m this year but plans to reduce the grant to £884,000 in 2011/12.
North Somerset Council did not have figures for the amount it invests but a spokesman said it would be reduced by £200,000 this year.
Connexions started in 2001 and is contacted by around 70,000 young people a year.
The cuts are subject to consultation and redundancies are expected to be confirmed in September.
LPW's chief executive Keith Harrison said: "The cuts will be across the board. We have tried to protect delivery but with these numbers it is inevitable some frontline staff will be affected."