Deputy PM in youth jobs pledge
The Deputy Prime Minister has pledged to create jobs "that are not just here today and gone tomorrow" as he launched his £1 billion flagship scheme to get young people into work.
Nick Clegg said the Youth Contract would offer a route into work for young people, creating at least 410,000 new jobs over the next three years.
On a visit to a Job Centre Plus in Poplar, east London, with Employment Minister Chris Grayling, Mr Clegg met young people who will benefit from the scheme.
After chatting to jobseekers who were receiving advice ahead of interviews for work experience in the media centre at the Olympics, Mr Clegg said unemployment could have a "scarring effect" on young people.
He said: "From today, if you are 18-24 and out of work, you can get down to a Job Centre like this because they will be able to offer you the opportunities to either earn or learn, to either take up work, which we will part subsidise, or the expanded apprentice prospects or the increasing number of work experience placements.
"What we are saying to employers is if you are wondering if you are going to take the plunge to employ a young person then we will help you make that decision by providing some money ourselves and we hope that will tip the employer in favour of the young person.
"The key thing here is that by creating the partnership between the subsidy from us, the Government, and the employer we hope that means the employer will keep that young person on beyond the six months of the subsidy so that we create jobs that are not just here today and gone tomorrow but jobs that last for young people for years into the future."
Mr Clegg spoke to some jobseekers who had been out of work since they left education.
"There are close to a million young people that are out of work, that is a figure that is far too high and creates real long term scarring effects if young people are locked out of work," he said. "Of course if the scheme works I want us to do even more of it in future because youth unemployment, in my view, is one of the biggest challenges we face as a country."
Under the Youth Contract, first announced last November, firms will be offered £2,275 "wage incentives" to take on up to 160,000 under-25s, while the scheme will also create an additional 250,000 work experience placements. Small businesses will also be encouraged to recruit their first apprentices with an extra 20,000 incentive payments.