Coronavirus: UK firms paid to hire young staff in 'biggest ever' training boost

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with pupils in Nottingham last year as the government expands training programmes. Photo: PA

UK firms will receive £1,000 ($1,248) for every young person they hire as part of the “largest-ever expansion of traineeships.”

The Treasury announced the reforms amid fears of soaring youth unemployment over the summer as young people leave education and support for furloughed workers is wound down.

A traineeship is defined as a “free course that includes a work placement,” lasting between six weeks and six months and targeted at under-25s. The work placement must last at least 60 hours.

Employers will have to offer training including English, maths, CV writing, and “what to expect in the workplace,” according to a statement released by the Treasury.

The government already offers funding for traineeships, but the £111m new funding is intended to triple the number of trainees. It will take effect in England from September, with £21m provided to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “so they can follow suit.”

READ MORE: How economic crisis could scar a generation of young people

The Treasury noted that young people’s employment prospects were “expected to be disproportionately affected by the economic fallout of coronavirus.” It highlighted research suggesting young workers were more than twice as likely to work in sectors that had been shut down, and more likely to have lost their jobs.

Officials fear that young people who have lost their jobs could remain unemployed for long periods, damaging their career prospects. It cited further studies indicating most 18-24-year-olds not in education, employment or training for three months tended to be in the same situation nine months later.

It is hoped traineeships will limit such long-term unemployment. “Evidence shows three-quarters of 18-24 year-olds who complete traineeships move on to employment or further study within 12 months,” the Treasury added.

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