The Government has announced a new £60m Supporting Youth Employment initiative aimed to provide funding for 250,000 apprenticeships over the next four years and 100,000 work placements over the next two years. An initial pilot will involve 50,000 people over the next two years, to provide six-week intensive periods of support – help with training, childcare and presentation skills – with a guaranteed job interview at the end.

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The Supporting Youth Employment initiative will also provide earlier access to Work Programme places to vulnerable 18 year olds who are struggling to make the transition from education to work. It will similarly include additional support to the 5,000 most disadvantaged 16-17 year olds claiming Jobseekers Allowance; including access to Work Experience and Work Clubs.

The proposals included a new Innovation Fund which will help DWP to test new delivery models to support its most disadvantaged customers. In simple terms, delivery organisations will partner with financial backers to develop a proposal. The proposal will be submitted to DWP for consideration and, if selected, the financiers will cover all the delivery costs and DWP will pay the financiers an agreed amount at the point the specified outcomes are achieved. The initiative will give providers, and in particular the voluntary and community sector, a real chance to develop innovative solutions to help disadvantaged people, particularly young people who are NEET.

£10 million per year will be available under the Innovation Fund to pilot new delivery models. All of the Innovation Fund pilots will be fully evaluated to assess the potential for wider usage. DWP are currently developing the detailed arrangements and will publish more details shortly, including information on how the bidding process will work. A dedicated e-mail address ( INNOVATION.FUND@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK ) has however been set up to manage initial queries about the Innovation Fund.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “Tackling youth unemployment is one of the Government’s top priorities. We’ve lined up thousands of employers to provide work experience places for young unemployed people. We’ve launched tens of thousands of new apprenticeships. And now our new sector based work academies will offer a new dimension to the support on offer by combining real training, work experience and a guaranteed interview which will give young people another platform to get into a job. We’re determined to make sure our young people have a brighter future.”

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It would be great if some of this went to apprenticeships in UK Manufacturing.

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