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Government urged to fund more apprenticeships

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The government needs to provide extra subsidies for apprenticeship schemes if unemployment among young people is not to become entrenched.

The call has come from the CBI. The employers’ group wants to see a portion of the government’s £500 million recruitment subsidy fund re-directed towards supporting new apprenticeships.

Under the CBI scheme, some £125 million would go towards supporting an additional 50,000 apprentices.

Employers would receive £2,500 in order to supplement the cost of taking on each extra apprentice.

Another CBI recommendation would see a further £25 million set aside for firms that train more apprentices than they can actually employ so that young people can return to the jobs market with improved skills and qualifications.

The CBI also proposed that firms should offer internships and encourage schemes for staff to mentor young people, and that both public and private-sector employers should open up work experience schemes to young people who are not in education, employment or training.

Richard Lambert, the CBI’s director-general, said: “Young people leaving education this summer face the toughest job market in a generation. We know from previous recessions that a lack of employment after leaving education can damage young peoples’ long-term prospects at a critical point as they move from education to the world of work.

“Young people are being hardest hit by unemployment, and the government must increase the opportunities available to limit its scarring effects. Business also needs to support young people by offering more apprenticeships, internships, work experience and mentoring opportunities.”