£5m plan to boost youth employment in Fife

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FIFE Council has announced details of a £5m programme investing in apprenticeships and training aimed at tackling the problem of youth unemployment in the Kingdom.

With the rate of young people in Fife claiming Jobs Seekers Allowance running higher than the national level, Fife Labour set out a key pledge to support and help create more apprenticeships and training places for Fife’s young people, which they have now brought forward since forming a majority administration following May’s council elections.

The programme will see the council working with private and third sector employers along with Fife’s colleges to create 600 apprenticeship places.

Fife Council Leader, Alex Rowley, pictured right, said: “The Office of National Statistics has produced evidence showing that long term youth unemployment is now rising faster than at any point in the last 20 years.

“The danger is therefore that you end up with a lost generation of young people aged from 16 to 24, whose inability to get the work skills they need impacts on their ability to work throughout their adult life, and reduces their life chances.

“So in Fife, we are taking bold steps to make new investment that will assist employers to take on an apprentice.

“The Council is paying wages in the first year and if necessary, part of the second year, by which time the apprentice is productive and the employer is then able to sustain the apprenticeship place with the young person getting a skill and trade or profession behind them.”

Fife colleges are partners in the project with employers in the region already signing up to take part.

Now Mr Rowley is keen for others to get involved.

He said: “I recently met up with apprentices who were training as electricians and joiners with the Council, and it was great to hear their stories and experiences and hopes for the future.

“In the months ahead, I will continue to examine all budgets and policies with a view to reprioritising resources putting Fife’s communities and people first.”