Minister insists Youth Contract will boost youth employment

By Geoff Berkeley 05/04 Updated: 06/04 09:48

Buy photos » Business Secretary Vince Cable with apprentice Craig Fitton and Marcus Burton, Group Managing Director for Yamazaki Mazak Europe. (s)

BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable has insisted a new £1billion Government scheme will lift young people across Worcester out of unemployment and back into work.

The number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseekers Allowance in the city has risen to 770, with overall unemployment now standing at 2,640 - the highest it has been since February 2010.

But Mr Cable, who visited machine tool manufacturer Yamazaki Mazak's European Technology Centre in Worcester on Tuesday (April 3), said the launch of the Government's Youth Contract would help get young people back into employment.

The new scheme offers wage incentives worth more than £2,275 to encourage employers to recruit 18 to 24-year-olds, while there will be an extra 250,000 more work experience places made available over the next three years.

And despite rising youth unemployment Mr Cable told the Standard the Government had not got it wrong in its attempts to reduce the deficit.

"I don't think we have got it wrong, it is just very difficult," Mr Cable said.

"You cannot parachute teenagers into a machine tool making factory.

"There is a long process of training and apprenticeships and one of the key themes about the Youth Contract is that it gets young people on to a ladder that they can progress through a proper apprenticeship."

Mr Cable also rejected claims the Government had ignored the over 25s, with 1,410 25 to 49-year-olds currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Worcester.

"We are trying to address all different age groups," he added.

"You can't use exactly the same policy for different groups.

"But the feedback we have had is there is a particular vulnerability among young people and particularly school leavers, who have fallen out of the labour force, and we need to make a special effort to get them in or else they are just lost really."

Buy photos» Mr Cable believes the Government's new Youth Contract will help tackle rising youth unemployment. Picture by Nick Hands 1412031NHR4 Order this picture at www.buyphotos247.com

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