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Youth Contract promoted

January 6, 2012 4:24 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg joined Willie Rennie in Dunfermline today to promote the £1 billion Youth Contract which is designed to get young Scots back into work.

The Youth contract includes:

• 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.
• There will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices.
• And there will be a new programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds - getting them back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.

After meeting apprentices at CR Smith in Dunfermline the Liberal Democrat leader said:

"It's very important we work in full co-operation with the Scottish Government.

"I know Alex Salmond and the SNP were very dismissive when it was first announced, I hope they have now looked at the details a bit more and are prepared to work with us co-operatively.

"I know Alex Salmond never likes to give credit for good ideas which are not his own, but I think it would be a good thing for the young people of Scotland if he could put his pride aside and work with us to give those opportunities, from April, to every single young person in Scotland who, at the moment, is sitting at home feeling a bit lost, a bit cut off, feeling demoralised, just at the time in their life when they should be full of optimism and hope."

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

"The Youth Contract is a great example of how the Coalition Government is working to help Scottish young people at this tough time for the economy.

"Recent figures have shown that youth unemployment is rising faster in Scotland than across the rest of the UK so the Scottish Government should embrace the youth contract as a way to reverse this worrying trend.

"Today's young people are the next generation of taxpayers that will help get the economy back on firm ground. We need measures that help them to get up and get on and the Youth Contract is a vital part of this process.

"The Youth Contract is the right policy at the right time and I'm pleased Nick Clegg could come to help promote it today."

Gerald Eadie CBE, Chairman of CR Smith, added:

"I believe that apprenticeships are crucial for future growth. We need a new army of tradesmen to help us out of the current economic difficulty. It is important to teach young people skills that will help build a strong nation and help fuel their personal ambitions.

"Many companies, of all sizes, take on apprentices both because of a sense of social responsibility and because they appreciate the need to train people for the future. But this is a costly business. It can be two years before a young apprentice delivers return on investment.

"The Youth Contract, which incentivises employers to take on apprentices through wage subsidies is a welcome step forward. It is the first initiative to truly recognise that it is employers that create jobs, not government. It makes perfect sense to get young people into a job and stop putting obstacles in the way."