The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the government’s Youth Contract - which provides a subsidy of £2,275 per person to firms taking on young workers - will start at six months instead of the previous nine, in areas with the highest levels of long-term youth unemployment.
Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, said:
“Despite a recent fall in youth unemployment, employers remain deeply concerned about the number of young people unable to find work. Businesses want to hire young people, but economic uncertainty, combined with poor skills and a lack of experience, often makes it too risky.
“The Youth Contract is a good short-term solution to reduce these risks, but we have in the past argued for a wider reach and a bigger budget. The Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement is a good first step that will help more employers create opportunities for young people in areas worst affected by unemployment.
“At Business West we have been a firm supporter of the Youth Contract and welcome its extension by the government. The current unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year olds is 19.9%, compared to the average unemployment rate for 16 to 64 year olds of 8.2%, which clearly illustrates the extent of the problem.
“The government needs to push this issue even further to tackle the long-term effects of youth unemployment. The Department for Business and Department for Education must work together to reduce long-term structural youth unemployment. Future generations should leave formal education with the skills and experience to break into the workforce and remain in employment, making them less vulnerable in a challenging economic environment.”
Press Release - 28 June 2012