CHANCELLOR George Osborne pledged to help youth employment prosper in the South West when he visited Stroud Youth Support Centre this morning (Friday).

Stroud Youth Support Centre provides education and advice to vulnerable young people aged 10-19 through difficult situations as they make the transition into adulthood. The secret visit was one of several places the Chancellor visited in the South West to promote opportunities for young people. Speaking to the press Mr Osborne said the visits purpose was to find out about some of the problems faced by young people looking for work and to offer advice and opportunities.

He said: “I am really impressed by what I have seen (at the centre). Some of the young people I have met here have had severe issues and no breaks in life.

“Centres like this can help young people regain their self belief to make a positive contribution to the local economy” said Mr Osborne.

Ryan Gaitely, 18, is one of a number of Stroud youngsters to have been helped by the Ryeleaze Road centre.

“It was brilliant, George is such a light and fluffy guy” he said.

“The centre has helped out many people around the area and helped me get a job” said Ryan, who is now working in a cafe and hopes to become an apprentice engineer.

Mr Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was greeted by Stroud MP Neil Carmichael when he arrived at 10.30am. The pair joined a discussion group with several NEETs from the centre talking about positive influences.

A reporter later asked Mr Osborne who he had found influential, to which the Chancellor replied that a history teacher had been inspirational in his early life.

He then gave a Q+A session with the local media, where he committed to helping unemployment keep falling in Stroud.

When questioned about Gloucestershire’s 6,000 unemployed the Chancellor said: “Part of our economic plan is to create full employment. I want to send a message to young people to make the most of the opportunities provided by the centre and the government Help to Work scheme.

“(The rising retirement age) has not stopped young people getting into work, and unemployment in Stroud is falling.”

The Chancellor was also positive about the Neil Carmichael planned Festival of Engineering and the Stroud MP said afterwards he was happy with how the gathering had gone.

“It went very well, we are promoting a strong and positive message for young people” he said.