Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, chose Leeds College of Building as a venue to launch a £1 billion scheme to help young unemployed people.
Nick Clegg told employers from the construction industry that the Government was committed to making it easier for businesses to take on young people aged 18- 24. The Deputy Prime Minister also took the opportunity to talk to construction apprentices currently training at Leeds College of Building, including World Skills Gold Medal winner in plumbing and heating, Shane Trevitt, and the gold medal winner in roof slating and tiling at the 2010 SkillBuild national finals, Matthew Timby.
Chairman of the Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force (CCATF) Geoff Lister, Principal of Leeds College of Building Ian Billyard and FMB members Roger Skehan from Oddy Builders and Norman Johnston from Wood Mitchell Building Group all heard the details of the new ‘Youth Contract’ first hand at a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister following the announcement. Other representatives from the industry included Laing O’Rourke, BAM Construction and Mott Macdonald, all represented on the CCATF.
THE YOUTH CONTRACT
The Youth Contract is a package of measures worth £1 billion over three years including 160,000 wage incentives worth £2,275, enough to cover the cost of an employer’s National Insurance contributions for employing a young person for a year. In addition, there will be 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1,500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices, a new £150m programme for the most vulnerable NEET 16 and 17 year olds to get them learning, on an apprenticeship or in a job with training and an offer of a work experience place for every unemployed 18-24 year old who wants one, before they enter the Work Programme.
Geoff Lister said: “We are delighted that the Deputy Prime Minister chose Leeds College of Building for this important announcement. The Government is right to target its support at employers. Lots of employers want to train young people to help make their business more productive, but the economic situation is making it very difficult to take that first step. The Deputy Prime Minister told us he recognised a lack of confidence in the economy was a major barrier to employment, but said the Government was taking steps to promote capital infrastructure schemes and get the banks to start lending to small businesses again, which will help.
“The policies announced today are important for the work of the CCATF and we will continue to work tirelessly on our task of increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities in the construction sector. I am especially pleased that Nick Clegg saw today how the CCATF is helping the construction industry to speak with one voice on matters of huge importance to the country.”