THE level of youth unemployment in Darlington is a “stark reminder” of the importance of teaching financial education in schools, a national charity has warned.

A total of 3,220 young people aged 16 to 24 claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Darlington area in October, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Personal Finance Education Group, an education charity which offers free resources and support to schools across the country, is campaigning for lessons about money to be taught as part of the national curriculum.

It says that financial education lessons can help equip young people to manage their personal finances as they search for work, and help prevent Darlington's young unemployed falling into problem debt.

The charity’s chief executive, Tracey Bleakley, said: “School-leavers are entering adult life in extremely difficult economic times.

“Too many young people in Darlington are still struggling to find work – and the truth is that in many cases we are making their problems worse by allowing them to leave school without the skills they need to manage their money well.

“Budgeting what money you have, understanding how benefits work and avoiding falling into unmanageable debt are just some of the financial skills that are absolutely essential when searching for your first job.

“This is especially important with the forthcoming changes to the benefit system.

“Financial education makes a real difference to young people’s lives. We need to give every young person the skills they need to survive and thrive in our economy – and our free resources and support can help teachers in Darlington make this a reality for their pupils.”

For more information on the resources and support offered by the charity to schools and teachers, visit