£1BILLION-WORTH of incentives to get youngsters working has been welcomed in Gloucestershire.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has pledged to create hundreds of thousands of work placements for young people in the face of record levels of youth unemployment.
Yesterday, the leader of the Liberal Democrats announced the creation of a £1billion Youth Contract aimed at helping jobless young people get back into work or education.
The move comes the day after official figures revealed that a record 1,163,000 16 to 24-year-olds were "NEET" (not in education, employment or training) in the third quarter of this year.
Craig Hanson, 18, who was helped in to a career by Gloucestershire College's recent crash course to help NEETS become more employable, said initiatives like this were a good idea.
"I have got a job and start on Monday," he said. "I applied for lots of jobs but the course helped because I knew how to interview better and make the most of my skills."
Mr Clegg announced that under the Youth Contract, from next April, over a three-year period at least 410,000 work places will be found for 18 to 24-year-olds. This includes wage subsidies worth £2,275 handed to employers to take on 160,000 18 to 24-year-olds.
Steve Evans, founder and managing director of Staverton-based Clarkson Evans electrical contractors, said: "It all helps but with these type of initiatives, they tend to be aimed at youngsters who have been out of work for three to six months.
"We get hundreds of applications for our apprenticeships from people who have a good track record with A levels and we try to get the best young people available."
The firm has 100 apprentices among its 350 staff - and several board members started on that career path.
John Carpenter, director of Nortim Engineering in Stroud echoed Mr Evans' view. He said: "The success of something like this is down to whether the right people come to us."