Scheme to get teens working

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WIGAN is leading the way in a scheme designed to get young people into work.

Fifteen young people in the borough have been placed in apprenticeships so far under the Greater Manchester Commitment programme, more than any other authority in Greater Manchester with the exception of Oldham.

The scheme will eventually support 91 apprenticeships and 200 jobs with training in the borough, with more than 1,200 new places for youngsters across the region being helped.

The scheme provides young people aged between 16 and 24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and employers with a work trial lasting up to eight weeks, with applicants not receiving benefit payments getting an allowance of £40 per week and young people on benefits receiving £10 in vouchers each week.

If the trial is successful and a full apprenticeship is offered, the scheme then also pays an Employer Grant of £750 to the company after the young person has been there eight weeks.

The scheme has been created by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) using £4m of money left over from the Greater Manchester Future Jobs Fund, which came to an end in September 2011.

There are 1,275 apprenticeship placements available on the scheme, which began in May and will finish on March 31 next year.

The Commitment passed a significant milestone after the 100th apprentice was placed with prospective employers earlier this week, in a business administration post in Rochdale.

Latest figures show the number of people aged between 16 and 24 claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) in Greater Manchester has begun to fall, with around 900 fewer claimants between May and June, a drop of 3.4 per cent.

There are now around 24,400 young JSA claimants in the region.