Derry brothers focus of new TV doc on unemployment

Gareth and Kieron Simpson feature in new TV programme on BBC One NI.
Gareth and Kieron Simpson feature in new TV programme on BBC One NI.

Two brothers from Derry are the focus of a new TV documentary to be screened next week.

Kieron and Gareth Simpson are two young jobseekers from the city. They would do anything to find work, but are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Simpson brothers in a scene from the new TV documentary.

The Simpson brothers in a scene from the new TV documentary.

In Derry, unemployment is more than twice the Northern Ireland average with the North West being the only part of Northern Ireland whose economy shrank since the end of the Troubles: from 18,000 manufacturing jobs, in the 1990s, to 3,000 today.

The boys’ mother worked as a bus driver and their father as a warehouse manager.

However, as 18-25 year olds in today’s economic environment, the brothers are less likely to find steady work compared to the generations before them.

In “True North: The Job Hunt”, to be screened on BBC One NI on January 14 (10.40pm), Gareth lands his first ever interview – with a big retailer. The whole family rallies round to make sure it goes well.

Kieron Simpson outside Derry's jobs and benefits office.

Kieron Simpson outside Derry's jobs and benefits office.

Afterwards, the company tells him that they will phone him on Friday – but only if they have a job for him.

The documentary is a close-up slice of life with two young jobseekers: the long walk up steep hills to hand out CVs; the greyhound walking to stay sane; and a special relationship between two brothers.