Major employers to provide apprenticeships to unemployed youngsters

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A new initiative called “Backing Young Britain” is set to get thousands of young people back to work in the form of apprenticeships or training.

The latest official figures show that the jobless rate among 16 to 24-year-olds has surged to almost 20%, with nearly a million classed as unemployed.

Leading business groups have been calling for the Government to tackle growing unemployment amongst youngsters as a recent highlighted that if the number of young people on the dole tips over the one million mark, this summer’s school leavers will be the hardest hit since the 1929 crash

In a bid to get youngsters back into work, over 150 major employers including the Royal Mail, Microsoft, Pfizer, Phones4U, Centrica and Morrisons, will provide apprenticeships, work or training.

The initiative, which is set to create 85,000 jobs and training opportunities for young people, was launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper in Birmingham.

The PM said: “We know that people of all ages are being hit by the recession, but it is young people who can be most at risk and that’s where Backing Young Britain can really make a difference.”

Meanwhile, from next April all young job seekers without work for 10 months or more will be entitled to apply for help from the Future Jobs Fund – a scheme which provides employers with a £1,000 subsidy for each 18 to 24-year-old they hire.

However, the Backing Young Britain initiative was criticised by campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs. A spokesperson for the group said: “Today’s announcement is full of attention grabbing headlines on job creation but devoid of any meaningful detail.”

“Youth unemployment is a massive problem – a whole generation is in danger of being written off – but nothing we have seen today suggests any genuine movement from the government on helping solve this crisis,” added the spokesperson.

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