Business leaders have backed the £1bn Youth Contract, announced by Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg in November, which aims to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.
In East Dunbartonshire there are currently 605 people aged 18 to 24 in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and who would stand to benefit from the Youth Contract.
Britain’s four biggest employer organisations, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), have formally backed the Youth Contract and will also urge their members to back the initiative.
Starting next April, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24 year olds into work over the next three years. This includes 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.
Commenting, Jo Swinson said:
“Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster. If young people are out of work, the consequences of that will be felt for decades afterwards. We need to ensure young people do not have a false start.
“That is why it is excellent news that Britain’s four biggest employer organisations are backing the scheme. I look forward to working with local employers to make sure the Youth Contract is a success so that we won’t lose the skills and talent of our young people – right when we need them most.
“As a Liberal Democrat, I am proud that the Coalition Government is working with business to do the right thing to prevent another lost generation.”
Commenting further, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:
“Supporting people into work is my priority for 2012 and helping young people get proper lasting jobs is especially important.
“The Youth Contract will make sure every unemployed young person starts earning or learning again before long term damage is done.
“But government can’t do this alone, we need businesses to play their part too. That’s why the support of the Confederation of British
Industry, British Chambers of Commerce, British Retail Consortium and Federation of Small Businesses is such good news.”
- Every employer, from global corporations to small local firms, can get involved. They can register their interest at the new Youth Contract website for businesses dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract
- The Deputy Prime Minister announced the Youth Contract on 25 November 2011. Key measures include:
- Cash payments to encourage employers to recruit young people.
- An extra 250,000 Work Experience places over the next three years, taking the total to at least 100,000 a year.
- Extra support through Jobcentre Plus in the form of weekly, rather than fortnightly, signing-on meetings, more time to talk to an adviser and a National Careers Service interview.
- At least 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1,500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices in England, taking the total number of payments available to 40,000 next year.
- John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:
“The Youth Contract is good news for young people up and down the country. It will encourage firms to give a young inexperienced person a chance so that the scourge of youth unemployment can be tackled.
“We sincerely hope that employers of all sizes looking to hire staff will see the Youth Contract as a real incentive to invest in our young people.”
- Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“Youth unemployment is a huge challenge for Government and business alike. Firms up and down the country are concerned about the record numbers of young people currently out of work, and tell us they are ready to do their bit.
“That’s why we warmly welcome the Youth Contract, which will help growing businesses offer more young people real jobs and work experience. We will work closely with the Government to ensure that these initiatives help to overcome the obstacles that stop young people and potential employers from connecting.”
- Director General of the British Retail Consortium, Stephen Robertson, said:
“Nearly a million young people are employed by retailers in the UK and they’re keen to take on even more. The sector employs a quarter of all 20 to 24 year olds who are in work and the proportions are even higher for teenagers. Retail also has an excellent record on staff development and is one of the highest spending sectors on training per employee.
“The Government’s focus on helping young people into work and training has the potential to make a real and very welcome contribution to reducing youth unemployment. There needs to be an accompanying set of initiatives to drive growth which will help create new jobs for people of all ages.”
- Mike Cherry, Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Youth unemployment continues to be a major problem and so we welcome the Government’s Youth Contract initiative. Small businesses want to create jobs but need help overcoming the risks associated with taking on staff, especially in the current climate. We also need to see enterprise education in schools and colleges so that young people are given the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world of work.”
- Nick Clegg hosted a roundtable in Stratford with CBI, BCC, BRC and FSB representatives and attended by the following businesses and organisations:
- Asda Stores Ltd
- BAM Nuttall Ltd
- Brakes Group
- Clear Channel UK Limited
- Greggs Plc
- Hilton Hotels
- Hewlett-Packard UK & Ireland
- Intercontinental Hotels Group
- John Lewis Partnership
- Logica Plc
- Marks and Spencer Plc
- Pinnacle PSG Ltd
- Travelodge Hotels Ltd
- Road Haulage Association
- Employment and Related Services Association
- Talkback Thames
- The Skills Place Newham, Westfield