Nick Clegg champions youth jobs drive
Monday 13 February 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg appealed to businesses today to sign up to the coalition's drive to tackle youth unemployment.
The £1 billion Youth Contract is intended to create at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24-year-olds over the next three years.
Under the scheme, from April firms who take on youths will get help with their wages worth £2,275.
"Getting young people earning or learning is my top priority, and that's what the Youth Contract is going to do," the Liberal Democrat leader said.
"This is a long-term boost to help business get young people into jobs before lasting damage is done.
"Employers have a huge part to play in this and the subsidy we're announcing today benefits business and young people.
"Today I'm writing out to thousands of employers of all sizes - from global corporations to small local firms - calling on them to look at what we're offering through the Youth Contract and sign up to offer jobs from April.
"This is a significant moment and a call to arms for businesses to offer long-term opportunities to young people who are out of work."
Mr Clegg made his comments as he met young apprentices at K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd in Islington, north London, which has its own school where youngsters learn their trade.
The firm was started in 1988 by Kevin McLoughlin, who worked his way up from being an apprentice to owning the company, which has a turnover of more than £6 million a year.
It has been involved in some of the capital's biggest building projects, such as the Olympics sites, St Pancras station and the Savoy Hotel's redevelopment.
The firm opened its decorating school in October 2010 and now has 22 apprentices.
Mr McLoughlin, 54, said the last 25 years have seen 90% of companies stop training youngsters.
"It is mainly due to the major contractors," he said.
"They have systematically driven down prices, causing a downward spiral where, to claw back profit, many sub-contractors have been forced to cut costs to the bone.
"Training has been seen as 'expensive' and apprenticeships have been the casualty.
"But the sums are wrong. Believe me, I'm not a charity.
"I wouldn't do this if apprentices did not make me money and, in return, they get the opportunity to learn a trade with a guarantee of a job at the end of it."
But he warned the Government needed to close legal loopholes which allowed companies to sub-contract their workforce.
He added: "If the Government was truly committed to apprentices, they would close the legal loopholes that allow companies to sub-contract their workforce on a long-term basis, whether that is through an agency or the traditional labour-only sub-contract route.
"This allows them to avoid PAYE and all the associated employment costs.
"Without PAYE staff, you cannot take on apprentices because there is no infrastructure there to mentor and train them."
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...