Youth job scheme ‘too risky’

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Manufacturers are spurning the government’s flagship programme to get the long term unemployed back to work because they either don’t know about it or they don’t believe recruits would have the basic skills they need.

According to a survey of almost 200 companies by the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, only one company was making use of the £1billion Youth Contract scheme to create jobs and work experience for the under-25s.

Almost half the companies knew about the scheme, which offers employers a wage incentive, worth up to £2,275 for each youngster they take on but weren’t considering using it.

More than one in ten said they hadn’t known about it, but wouldn’t use it anyway.

The EEF says that contrasts with companies making use of apprenticeship grants, worth £1,500, where one in six companies were involved, almost half were considering becoming involved and just over one in ten didn’t know about the scheme and were unlikely to become involved.

EEF regional director Andy Tüscher said taking someone on under the Youth Contract was seen as a significant risk by companies.

He called for more emphasis to be put on apprenticeship grants and for the government’s Jobcentre Plus agency to do more to ensure young people had basic employability skills.

“Job Centre Plus must…play a key role in preparing young people for placements in the Youth Contract by ensuring that they the basic employability skills. The government also needs to do more to raise awareness of the programme and the incentives on offer,” said Mr Tüscher.