New training programme for young people receives more funding as Government commits to enhancing skills of the workforce

Even more young people are to be helped into apprenticeships and other jobs thanks to fresh investment in a new Government training initiative.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock has announced that an extra 20 million is being made available to the Traineeships programme.

The scheme, which was officially launched in August, is designed for 16 to 23 year-olds who want to work, but who need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job.

It aims to provide them with the skills, experience and confidence needed to compete in the labour market.

"The programme is off to an excellent start with strong backing from employers and training providers," said Mr Hancock.

"We have responded to this demand by providing additional investment and in time traineeships will become the clear route for young people looking to get the crucial grounding they need in the world of work."

More than 500 providers have already pledged to take on trainees this year, while 150 other companies, both large and small, have expressed an interest in offering placements to young people.

Those taking part in the Traineeships programme will undergo a range of training, including interview preparation and CV writing, over a period up to a maximum of six months.

They will also receive support to improve their English and maths skills, embark on a high-quality work experience placement - lasting between six weeks and five months - and get training from providers who are rated 'Outstanding' or 'Good' by Ofsted.

Traineeships are part of the Government's wider aim to ensure the future workforce possesses the skills employers want in their employees.

Virgin Media is one of the household names to have already committed itself to the programme, taking on its very first batch of trainees.

"Traineeships are a great opportunity for both parties," commented Chris Starling, head of apprenticeships at Virgin Media. "Not only can the employer get to know the trainee but the trainee can get real exposure to the type of career that is available and make an informed decision that is best for them."

Copyright Press Association 2013