Youth Contract scheme will pay employers £2,275 towards the wages of each young person they recruit

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has unveiled a £1bn initiative to help tackle youth unemployment during a visit to Leeds College of Building.

The new Youth Contract scheme is designed to get 500,000 young people aged between 18 and 24 into training, work experience or apprenticeships and will pay employers £2,275 towards the wages of each young person they recruit. 

In total 160,000 places will be available, and the money will also pay for 250,000 work experience placements.

During his visit to the construction college, Clegg had breakfast with employers and met some of its 7,500 students.

Ian Billyard, principal at Leeds College of Building, said: “As the UK’s only specialist construction college we’re delighted that the deputy prime minister chose to make this announcement here. 

“The plans sound positive and we support any moves that encourage and promote job creation and work experience. We’re seeing a big increase in the number of new and existing students saying they no longer plan to go to university, so these types of schemes are vitally important for the future of young people.

“In addition, our experience shows that apprentices develop a great work ethic and gain valuable experience.  Recent figures also show that nationally apprentices aged 19 and over generate £40 for each £1 of government investment, so if this scheme can enjoy similar results it will be good value for money.”