SHEFFIELD Hallam MP Nick Clegg was in South Yorkshire to launch a scheme worth £126 million targeted at rescuing Britain’s ‘lost generation’ of young people.
Targeted support will be offered to teenagers aged 16 and 17 who are not currently in education, employment or training - so-called ‘NEETS’ - with the aim of getting them to learn new skills and find employment.
The Government is paying companies to provide the help, with a budget of £2,200 per young person - and payment by results.
Nationally, Mr Clegg wants 55,000 young people to be helped through the scheme, including 760 in Sheffield.
South Yorkshire is set to receive around £2 million of the funding - part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s £1 billion Youth Contract initiative.
Mr Clegg launched the scheme at youth training company Full Circle Learning in Rotherham. He met young people, staff and was able to see training in action.
Mr Clegg said: “The £126 million scheme to target these young people is part of the wider £1 billion Youth Contract initiative.
“Doing nothing to help these youngsters would not only be a tragedy for them but would also end yup being massively expensive for the rest of society.
“These are young people who if you are not careful end up on the wrong side of the tracks and in the criminal justice system, or suffer other problems.”
Mr Clegg said the scheme to help NEETs will involve working with a range of organisations including Barnardo’s and also ex-service personnel to provide mentoring and inspiration.
He added: “The support offered will vary in each case. We are not going to apply a blanket approach because they all have very different requirements.
“Youngsters have told me that what makes a difference is having someone who is with them every step of the way to help get their lives back on the right track.
“These are young people who have not been able to make their way forward in life under normal circumstances.
“We are aiming to give them the necessary leg-up.”