New traineeships for 16 to 24-year-olds announced

New traineeships which will offer work experience and other skills to help young people land their first job will begin next month, the Government has announced.

Traineeships are short courses intended to form a "stepping stone" to apprenticeships and other job opportunities for 16 to 24 year-olds.

They will give assistance in writing a CV, interview practice, work placements of up to five months and training in English and mathematics, said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Some 959,000 in this age group were unemployed in three months to May - a UK-wide jobless rate of 20.9%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Young people in Britain deserve the chance to work and get on in life which is why we're introducing traineeships to help them get on the first rung of the ladder."

The new traineeships have the backing of employers including General Motors, HSBC, BT and Virgin Media.

Mr Hancock said: "Employers value real experience which is why I'm delighted that more than 100 businesses have come forward.

"I now want to urge more employers - no matter what size - to sign up to the programme and make the most of the talents of our young people."

The plan was welcomed by Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges.

He said the association had for many years argued for an effective pre-apprenticeship programme to help young people "become competitive for a sought-after apprenticeship place" with an employer.

With the right content and conditions traineeships could provide such a programme, he said.

This could make a significant contribution to reducing the number of young people not in employment, education or training (Neet), he added.

Dr Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce said traineeships could provide a reliable route to employment for those who have the motivation to work but lack the necessary skills and experience.

He said such a scheme was long overdue because unfortunately many employers struggle to find quality candidates to fill their apprenticeships.

Dr Marshall said the combination of literacy, numeracy and real work experience would help to bridge this gap and enable many more young people meet employers' standards.

Copyright Press Association 2013