Employers are being offered wage incentives in a bid to drive down youth unemployment figures.
Until April 2015 employers are able to take advantage of 160,000 wage incentives being offered by the Youth Contract which was launched by the Government in April 2012.
The support package, worth nearly £1 billion, aims to offer nearly half-a-million new opportunities for out of work youngsters, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements.
Employers can claim the incentives, worth up to £2,275 each, when they employ an eligible jobseeker for 16 hours or more a week in a job lasting more than 26 weeks.
Eligible recruits must be aged between 18 and 24, and have been receiving benefits for at least six months through Jobcentre Plus.
The wage incentives are available to private, voluntary and community sectors and social enterprise employers.
The scheme offers two incentive rates:
for part-time work between 16 and 29 hours a week – £1,137.50
for full-time work of 30 hours or more a week – £2,275.
This will be paid 26 weeks after the employee starts work. Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can claim a part payment eight weeks after the employee starts work.
Jobcentre Plus staff can offer further information, advice on the eligibility conditions and support to identify the right person for your vacancy.
Alternatively, if you do not have any current vacancies your business can reap the benefits of offering a work experience placement with the help of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE 16 to 24).
Supporting these initiatives will not only help to give young jobless people a chance in a weaker market but may also benefit your business. As well as offering a wage incentive, your involvement may also enhance your reputation by showing your support for your local community and promoting workforce diversity.