Liverpool is one of the first cities in the country to launch a new Youth Contract aimed at lifting teenagers out of unemployment.
Launching on Monday 5 November, the Youth Contract Apprenticeship Business Grant Initiative offers a subsidy of up to £3,500 for employers to take on young people who are aged 16 and 17 and not in education, employment and training (NEET).
Around 10 percent of young people in this age group in the city currently fall into this category.
The funding pays for the first six months of a minimum 12 month apprenticeship and covers the cost of the national minimum wage for apprenticeships, which is currently £3.68 an hour.
It forms part of the City Deal negotiated with Government, and Liverpool is one of only three places able to allocate its own pot of money to the scheme through the Youth Contract.
The project is aimed at tackling the issue of businesses being reluctant to offer opportunities to young people who lack relevant qualifications or work experience and are struggling in the highly competitive jobs market.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Tackling youth unemployment is one of my priorities. We need to make sure every young person gets the chance to compete for a job and develop relevant skills and experience.
“This scheme is an important part of my commitment to making sure every young person gets the chance of an apprenticeship.”
Applications are being invited from businesses offering employment beyond the apprenticeship term, and emphasis will be given to employers who fill recognised skills gaps or priority areas such as the Superport, low carbon economy, tourism, creative sector, digital, media, financial and professional services.
Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said:”We have to encourage employers to look beyond this and harness the raw potential that exists among many of our teenagers.
“It is absolutely vital we don’t end up with a lost generation of teenagers who aren’t given the opportunity to achieve their potential.”
The cost of being NEET from 16-18 years is estimated to cost the public purse around £56,000.
More information is available for employershereor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0151 233 2842.
It is expected that around 150 young people will benefit from the initiative.