Thanet youth unemployment rate rises again to 9.9% making it highest in the south east

Young people are bearing the brunt of unemployment in Thanet

Thanet now has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the south-east with 9.9% of 18 to 24-year-olds on the isle out of work.

The data for February shows 910 young people claiming out of work benefits up from  9.8% (900 people) in January and 9.4% in December. The figure is up by a hefty 7.1% compared to February 2023 when it stood at 9.2% (850 claimants).

The Thanet rate is now higher than that for Hastings which previously had the highest figure in the south-east.

For Kent as a whole youth unemployment stands at 5.3%, just above the national rate of 5.2%.

The overall unemployment rate for the county is 3.5% compared to the national average of 3.8%. However, for Thanet it is much higher at 5.7% equating to 4,695 people, 2.8% higher than in January.

Wards with the highest percentage of people on out of work benefits are Margate Central (11.2%), Cliftonville West (11.1%) and Newington (8%).

Perfect team: Anistasia, Lee and Harry Photo Parri Thomas (with thanks to Margate Mercury)

Ventures aimed at tackling Thanet’s youth unemployment crisis include training  café and  kitchen The Perfect Place To Grow based at Tracey Emin’s TKE studio in Margate.

The business aims to give 18-24 year olds a path into employment and is headed up by Lee Coad, of seafood restaurants Angela’s and Dory’s, with  Harry Ryder from Bottega Caruso and Thanet youth worker Anistasia James.

The Perfect Place To Grow works with between 12-16 young people with the hope being they will gain employment within 12 months. An induction period of eight weeks is followed by trainees receiving the Real Living Wage, currently £12ph for those aged 18 and over.

Mike Spackman teaching food skills at Ramsgate Arts Primary

Another venture due to be created under the Ramsgate Levelling Up fund is the training kitchen at Newington Community Centre.

Architects Jan Kattein have been working with Newington Community Association on the plans to create the kitchen and space for people seeking job and training opportunities which will be headed up by community chef Mike Spackman. Mike already works with Newington Community Association to share food, cooking and health skills with residents, schools and college students.

Levelling Up early design

The £576,250 project will build on programmes already running at the centre including a Wednesday affordable lunch scheme, food banks, an employability scheme and volunteering from former prisoners looking to take their lives in a new direction.

Levelling Up projects have a March 2026 deadline for completion although some could be ready before that date.

County Councillor Karen Constantine said: “Urgent action is needed. Why should Thanet’s children and young people suffer more than young people in South East?

“We all know how damaging youth unemployment is for young people. High levels of youth unemployment also have wider social costs. Youth joblessness often damages self-esteem, mental health and earning capacity for years to come.

“A recent report by the Princes Trust says the ‘prolonged youth jobs crisis is set to cost UK economy almost £7 billion next year.’ The report also highlights the long term scarring impacts – ‘in terms of lost earnings and damage to employment prospects, is forecast to be £14.4 billion over the next seven years.’

“As youth unemployment reaches almost 10% in Thanet urgent action to tackle our youth jobs crisis is needed. Both our MPs, Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay need to act. Kent County Council also bear primary responsibility for implementing a solution. If we are going to tackle this increasing youth jobs crisis, then energetic and forward thinking leadership is needed.

“We need to support young people in Thanet to access jobs, or to stay in education or engage in high quality training schemes.

“ I believe we need to extend the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which I have seen first-hand, that offers some positive opportunities and helps to build confidence and skills. But it doesn’t go far enough, we also need a ‘young person’s guarantee’ that –

  • Proactively support young people in education who are at high risk of NEET – (not in education employment or training.)
  • Extend and re-commits to Youth Hubs.
  • Establishes a new joint ministerial brief between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education.
  • Pilots a new, targeted placement scheme for young people who are long-term NEET.
  • Strengthens and broadens the range of Level 2 and Level 3 pathways available to young people.”
Jobcentre plus

JobCentre Plus in Thanet says it is working to get people back into employment.

Nick Gurr, Thanet Recruitment Specialist, said: “We delivered our first “Meet the Employer event” at Margate Jobcentre with APS Salads (based in Ash) on March 5 which was well received and attended by our claimants.

“APS Salads gave a great overview of the roles on offer over the two sessions with an honest appraisal of the hardest bits of the job. Around 80% of those who attended the session have now signed up to visit the site to experience the greenhouses and complete their applications and these are taking place w/c 11 March.

“We are also supporting claimants who struggle with online applications by holding Group Information Sessions focused on making applications to a recruitment agency aimed at customers who are likely to be successful in the workplace but struggle with applying online.

“We continue to deliver monthly recruitment events with employer s to bring claimants face to face with employment opportunities locally. Our last Jobs fair was at Margate Caves on 21st February and was well attended with many people being offered second interviews or asked to apply online for the vacancy. This gave claimants an opportunity to ask the employers questions about their jobs and working practices which has helped many decide on career changes to other jobs that are available.

“Our next recruitment event takes place on 21st March between 10am to 12.30pm at the Salvation Army in Ramsgate. Employers identified so far include, Thorley Taverns, Miss Grean Clean, Morgan Jones, Global Recruitment and EK College who are promoting their next Get Into Hospitality course, further employers will added nearer the time.”

Any employers interested in attending this recruitment event or future events can contact Nick Gurr [email protected] or Lily Chiu [email protected]

Those who would like to attend the fair to find employment need to go through their work coach at the job centre.


  1. What do you expect when they keep putting the retirement age up !!! Makes you think that Parliament are trying to pop people off before they can claim their pension. Where do they think jobs for those coming out of education are going to come from…thin air !!!

      • Exactly, it’s nation wide, so unless a miracle happens in Thanet or Manston Airport and Ramsgate gets it’s port open again as it used to be…we’re stuffed !

        • Something that should be equal nationwide are pensioner bus passes. I’m 61, and if I lived in London, Wales or Scotland, I wouldn’t have to pay on buses now!

          • Sorry, I’m ancient,I got mine 15yrs ago. When did they put the age up ? Must be another way for the council to save spending money on oap’s. Are there still Saturday jobs for teens ? My Daughter and I were talking about this at the weekend. She said she was so proud of her first paypacket. If not,there should be, yet again, there’s not that many big stores or companies in Thanet anymore. It’s a vicious circle, high business rates and over heads = companies folding = redundancies .

          • I believe bus passes locally are given to pensioners when they’re 66.

            At 12, I was doing three paper rounds a couple of times per week (evening ones – in those days there was a twice weekly local paper), and by 15 I had done part time jobs sweeping up at a sunday market, cleaning cars and helping out in a greengrocers. Th good ol’ ’70s!

    • “Makes you think that Parliament are trying to pop people off before they can claim their pension.”

      That is EXACTLY what they’re doing. Tories have long wanted a decimation of the welfare state, including pensions.

      Read –

      The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age – William Rees Mogg


      Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad – William Rees Mogg

  2. Lack of investment, just more and more houses, so the problem will just get worse.
    Bring on Manston Airport, Ramsgate Port etc.
    Ramsgate Council and TDC just waste ratepayers money and are unaccountable.

    • Why are there still people in Thanet who think re-opening Manston will bring jobs? It wouldn’t, unless they can strip a cargo plane engine down for maintenance, which won’t happen because the last few aviation companies to operate from there, had the maintenance carried out overseas! Or are you thinking of the half dozen who would have to sweep the runway after every take off and landing. GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK HEADS, IF BY SOME MIRICLE MANSTON RE-OPENED, IT WILL ONLY BE FOR CARGO PLANES, NO PASSENGER AIRCRAFT, DUUURH!

  3. you are right there Ms Pink , art is the answer to all of thanets problems , it will turn thanet into a new eldorado . or so we are told ?

  4. This article is about youth unemployment and there’s no need to bring personal opinions about art into it.

    • My personal opinion is that it regenerates the area – hence we need more of it.

      Particularly art shelters.

      Do you have an opinion of your own, or do you just agree/disagree with others?

      Answers on a postcard. A Ramsgate one, with a stick of rock (do they still sell that in Thanet?).

  5. I know where I would like to stick some rock!
    It’s 2024 not 1974 and the best selling car is not a Ford Cortina, Morecambe and Wise are just memories,and Max Bygraves is topping the bill in the celestial throng.
    Youth unemployment is high because of the NEETs, Not in Education, Employment,or Training.
    If there are a continual cohort of school leavers with no skills or qualifications they will not get highly paid skilled employment.
    Thanet has lots of low paid,low skilled , precarious jobs, mostly in hospitality and some of them were mentioned in the article.What the school leavers want is high pay and they prefer benefits and all the dragooning that involves to making an effort.
    Setting aside all Pink’s prejudices about art, and the guff about Manston, what levelling up needs to do is encourage high tech stuff from sat the games industry to settle in Thanet with training schemes to deliver suitable candidates for those jobs.IT/games does involve art, so Pink’s prejudices are on the wrong track.
    The future may not be old fashioned manufacturing but the production of online goods, and there is no reason why Thanet cannot compete for those jobs.
    As for Ramsgate port, green tech is the way forward there, forget about no ferry ferries.
    As for accountability, just you don’t agree with RTC and TDC doesn’t make the unaccountable.You want to change them get elected, as moaning from the sidelines is not going to make any difference.

    • George Nokes/MM Rees/Andrew (or whatever you’re calling yourself today) – again, I have NOT criticised art. In fact I’ve seen it as a solution, something YOU obviously disagree with. Why DO you hate art as a job-making soloution so much? I don’t get it.

  6. what about all the fruit and vegetables that needs picking ? oh i forgot they are concreting over all our farmland in thanet

    • The fruit and vegetables that need picking, owned by farmers, of which if they had to pay a living wage to uk citizens, instead of reliance on migrant labour, would see any profit margin wiped out? Said farms, who see profit margins wiped out, then sell to developers?

      That fruit and veg?

  7. Go Global, why can’t young people be more adventurous and leave home. Get some training and go , lots of jobs on private yachts, cruise ships etc. And dare I say join the armed forces, or is that to far away from mummy and daddy.

    • Exactly, Fred. The same applies to housing – if there’s nothing local, then move elsewhere. There are areas in the country with both more work opportunites and more available housing. Far better than sitting around smoking dope while blaming the government and/or migrants.

  8. As Ive said before there should not be unemployment offices
    There should be redeployment offices whereby those who find themselves in between jobs are sent to other employers temporarily while looking for a job of their choice. The council could use most of the unemployed to litter pick and sweep the streets.

    • Would be a great idea..if there were jobs to go to, as for litter picking, hate to say it, most unemployed ( not all ) wouldn’t want to get out of bed for the wage they’d get.

      • Which is more than fair. Litter picking is a thankless job, carried out in all weathers, and oft fraught with jobsworth OAPs telling them how to do their jobs.

        • Bit like postman, out in all weathers, getting moaned at if the mail wasn’t delivered by such and such a time and bitten by dogs. My late Hubby was a postie,starting as a telegram boy, my Son is also a postie, now they’re phasing them out in favour of package diliveries.Once upon a time we had two deliveries a day, now you’ll be lucky to see one once a day !

  9. One of the big issues is that the local jobs market has changed significantly over time but our schools and colleges keep putting on the same courses every year as they are money spinners rather than adapting their offer to meet the new jobs market. There is a big disconnect which is part of the current problem.

  10. Half of Thanet. Are on benefits and gangs of teenagers graffitied walls and smoking drugs all benefits other half 2+children more benefits Should not be given out tax payers money to lazy teenagers get a job

    • and if they cannot find a job? What then, P?

      Are you factoring in behavioural/learning/physical disabilities? lack of educational attainment?

      More people than jobs within the Herne Bay/Sandwich boundaries of Thanet?

      If not, go back to the drawing board, apply logic instead of emotion, then actually provide a workable solution.

      • Then you go pout and find one elsewhere, is it really acceptable for people to choose not to work because they won’t commute or work away from home.
        As for educational attainment how many actually had a 90% plus attendance record and put in some effort.
        Amazingly those that value an education and try harder generally do better. No soubt there are some with difficulties that will struggle, but kids preferring to watch porn or videos of cats etc etc instead of school work don’t need indulging with a mental health tag.
        If you’re not prepared to put some effort in , then don’t expect anymore than the the bare minimum later in life.
        Way too many have led a life on benefits and a bit of cash in hand work ( be that a labourer ,dealing drugs, bit of petty crime , all of which will put an extra £100 a day in your hand) , don’t both with tax or insurance on your car , or share a “pool” car, it’s not hard for those so minded to have lifestyles that those who do work will never attain doing things properly.

  11. Of course the unemployment rate is up many councils in London have shipped their unemployed out of London down to Thanet that’s the new housing all along the Haine Road / Westwood Cross area. Most of those houses have been taken by London councils. Send the fit unemployed out litter picking and removing graffiti.

    • Bang on the money Ann! Zero jobs in Thanet (unless you are an undiscovered artist living off arts funding – read welfare for arts funding). TDC can’t approve the building of thousands of houses fast enough and every one will be a home for more migrant (to Thanet) unemployed dross.

  12. Perhaps a local councillor could give us some statistics regarding “the new housing along the Haine Road/Westwood Cross area”.

    Are London councils able to afford “taking” (How? Buying? Renting?) all these new-builds? If so, which councils? I assume that the ex-London new tenants,if any, would now be either already unemployed in London, or willing and able to travel from Westwood Cross to their current job in London.

    • Just because they lived in London doesn’t mean their job was in London too. Besides, many people “work” from home nowadays, which is why commuter trains, offices and businesses that rely on them are quieter now (Victoria Station has closed nearly all of its restaurants due to lack of trade).

    • Deals done with housing associations to take some of those from their housing lists. Paid for in some cases with the land valuefrom demolishing old london estates on which the councils only take a small percentage of the replacement build. ( there have been stories about tenants on an estate being split between private and social and the various issues with access to facilities)
      Not sure where you’d need to go to determine who is the eventual owner of the westwood cross developments , other than land registry. There was talk of a developer at WX stopping work on the houses it would be trying to sell and instead only continuing to build the housing association properties.
      Though within the hpusing association builds there are a good number of part rent part buy. Some say over 50% of the homes being built are housing association, in Aylsham that percentage is even higher.

  13. Today I walked nine miles along the coast from Birchington to Broadstairs (I want to get into that new pink pencil skirt I bough on ebay), and I noticed that EVERY shelter from Westbrook to Palm Bay is now fenced off… think how much employment this will give youngsters when they become art shelters? Cool!

    I also noticed that EVERY toilet between Margate and Broadstairs was boarded up (even Palm Bay cafe has closed their one to customers)… These can become Art Loos?! Cool! And, erm, DAMP! I’ve a good mind to send TDC my sodden underwear.

    In other news, some rebel without a clue has sprayed “Free Gazza” on a wall in Margate. Such a shame, a once great footballer.

    Oh, and the farm near Joss Bay has fields of rotting cauliflowers, as they couldn’t get any locals to pick them. Still, art is far more important than food!

    • PS. Apparently train faress from Broadstairs to Birchington are now free! The ticket office was closed as always (why aren’t you kicking up a fuss about this station, Barry?), the machine was out of order, and I walked the entire length of the train looking for a guard but he/she/they must’ve been hiding somewhere.

    • “and I noticed that EVERY shelter from Westbrook to Palm Bay is now fenced off…”

      That’s because they’re riddled with lead paint. Note the “council green” paint that shows through on all the peeling paint of said shelters. Go buy a testing pen from Amazon/Brewers and you’ll see what I mean.

      “Oh, and the farm near Joss Bay has fields of rotting cauliflowers, as they couldn’t get any locals to pick them. Still, art is far more important than food!”

      Because they’re no longer commercially viable operations thanks to Brexit. If they had to pay a liveable wage, then it wipes out their profit margins, which means they’re no longer commercially viable operations. (hence why so many are selling to property developers)

      Byline Times had an excellent article/video interview with an East Kent farmer not so long back, detailing all the reasons why Brexit has screwed the pooch for Kent farmers.

  14. Of course it is,nothing new ever comes out of TDC or it’s useless MPs. Flog the same dead horse of an airfield that the airlines and reputable airfield operators have zero interest in. Instead of using it for something that is genuinely beneficial to people, the area, tax revenue, the environment and employment. A bunch of one trick ponies, I wouldn’t trust to run a bath.

      • There are multiple uses, from a diverse development of homes, business, leisure facilities, to holiday parks with a young planted forest, pools indoor and out, kerting track, or attract business such as IKEA, Costco, and others. There are further options or are you one of thanet guilty which lack vision, ambition and potential to diversify into new streams of income. Doing the same thing again and again repeatedly and expecting different results is a definition of madness. The airport has died many times, there’s an excellent reason for that, the industry doesn’t want it due to it’s location and like any business if it doesn’t make a profit, it dies.

        • It will still be in the same location, whatever you put on it…

          I’d support turning it back into farmland – including reinstating the pre-1916 public footpath that connected the villages of Cliffsend and Manson – but nothing else except an airport.

  15. Jenny Dawes (70+ yrs old), Karen Constantine and Ramsgate Town Council should take the majority of blame, that Thanet youth unemployment is as poor as it is today.
    While lining the pockets of lawyers in London, with their judicial reviews of Manston Airport and blocking the inward investment RSP have been wanting to get the Airport up and running, with the technical college at the airport and everything else they have planned at Manston Airport.
    The amount of well paid jobs that would be created up at Manston airport and all the associated business to help supply and run the upkeep of the airport all year around, not seasonal low paid work that is on offer to the youth of Thanet today.
    I do hope Polly Billington, who will be running for the position of MP at the next election, where Manston Airport is slap bang in the middle of where she wishes to represent as an MP.
    Before she leaves her home in Hackney, London for Thanet Parkway, needs to be aware that the local Labour Party in Thanet are against inward investment and jobs for local people in Thanet, especially at Manston Airport, which would help the youth of Thanet getting well paid jobs all year around.
    Polly Billington has been asked on numerous times her stance on Manston Airport and has avoided answering the question on it.
    It is time she answered the question so Thanet residents can quickly advise her to save on the train fare from Hackney to Ramsgate or not.

    • I wouldn’t waste my time on Polly, and Helen Whitehead has yet to state her stance on Manston Airport as far as I’m aware (or as she?).

      • well that’s 7 years of a well paid job and experience that can be transferred somewhere else if needs be, but I doubt any transfer would be needed, as there well paid job would still be needed at Manston Airport, paying taxes to pay towards your medical needs and psychiatric care..

        • 1. Won’t be well paid or skilled or plentiful.
          2. Other than air traffic control many of the jobs will be low skill low pay.
          3. Your another person who is part of thanet problem, short term thinking for a pet project doomed to fail yet again just as it has the multiple times previously. Well done you.

          • The “thanet problem” is those who don’t use the public footpaths. These are gradually falling out of use, resulting in farm land being easier to build on. Use them or lose them!

        • Will it be ??- it will be highly automated and min wage for the many menial jobs – how will it be viable? A lot of the “business “ will go straight through to the existing storage and bulk breaking depots around the M25. The basic wage jobs will be as attractive as those current vacancies in retail and care homes that people don’t want to to. How else do you think the half a billion investment is going to be turned into a profit. Not by paying top dollar to drive a forklift that’s for sure!

          • And there’s the crux of the lack of employment, which will only get worse in future years…..automation! Stores are turning to self-service, which I refuse to use, banks are closing, preferring you use online banking. You use your phones to by tickets, online shopping, you even have Doctor appointments and prescription reviews by phone…you could be talking to the cleaner for all you know. Robots build cars. In years to come people will be clammering for the low paid employment so they can eat machine prepacked food…oh wait, where will the food come from ! All the farmland will be a concrete jungle !!

          • I see on the BBC news that there’s a problem ordering McDonalds today, as their machines are down (I guess the poor workers aren’t trained to have people talking to them directly!). Cheered me up no end!

            It will all end in disaster.

    • There is no “inward investment”.
      Nor will there be 23,000 jobs.
      Stonewall Park had a good scheme for housing, jobs, industry, leisure, but the UKIP council rejected it.

      • Errmm, wait, haven’t we got houses springing up in any slice of spare land they spy, including kicking farmers off their land that their family has farmed for centuries!! We have a new ” Fun centre ” springing up at WWX in place of a big named store, not to mention all the sport/spa centres dotted about the area. Also , have you seen the large…and still growing..industrial park in Minster, opposite Manston airfield ? Which by the way, is built on what was farmland !!

        • The industrial park is considerably larger than i’d imagined and as you say expanding considerably, so there must be demand for workspace.
          Then there was the proposal for a smaller development of commercai lunits at AllSaints but seems to have gone quiet.

    • What not Gale who has been MP for 2 decades, or McKinley stifling growth as he wants an airfield for his own aviation interests. You don’t let facts get In your way do you. Moron.

  16. Thanet Gazette… please explain why this subject requires a ‘glamour’ photo to accompany the headline… cheap clickbait?

    • It is a photo of a young person, which is what the article is about. There is nothing clickbait about it. Also, this isn’t the Thanet Gazette

  17. What do they expect the population of Thanet must have doubled over the last few decades with all the new housing and the influx of DFL’s.
    It’s never had good employment here as its coastal and mostly part-time or seasonal

  18. Ha! Manston Airport will be fully automated, right, that poor argument, lets say Tom & Jerry are real actors over in Hollywood and no artists were involved.

  19. This thread had it all- bravo! DFLs, migrants, jobs for the youth, and the cargo fantasy. Some questions for the fantasy supporters, plus the racist Ms Colour:
    – can the jobs legally be offered just to the youth?
    – can the jobs legally be offered just to local people?
    – Connected to the previous, do all the cargo hallucinators know how many minutes one could live from Manston to be considered ‘local’ by RSP?
    – if the jobs are so well paid, would they not attract other ‘non-locals’?
    – is there any connection between the woefulness of our MPs to reduce youth unemployment and the fact that youth unemployment is one of the flimsy arguments used to advocate for the cargo project?

      • The airhead parroting the ‘thousands of jobs’ children fantasy peddled by the developers which has been debunked by every study…obviously not a worry for the Manston faithful AKA hip replacement brigade , who just want a short journey to the airport as they find the current time it takes them to get to Luton too much for their pockets and bladders…

      • Any answer to the questions, or too busy reading that biographies of Enoch and Nigel?

  20. Doing what? Highly automated – they will almost certainly centralise la lot if the better paid work to existing sites and run them from there. That’s what’s happening across industry today. Centralised hubs with “satellites “ across the country. Plenty of forklift driving and warehouse stacking, but really “ lots of jobs” .. just think about it….even on the passenger side airports are trialling self processing with less staff and that will be a continuing trend.

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