As part of a government scheme to boost vocational training, small businesses across the UK are being offered a £1,500 incentive to hire their first young apprentices. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the funding plan today as part of National Apprentice Week.
Eligible organisations will establish apprenticeships for workers aged 16 to 24. The businesses can also bid for portions of the £6 million Higher Apprenticeship Fund and the £250 million Employer Ownership pilot programme. The Employer Ownership programme funds employers' development of vocational training programmes.
The Prime Minister's announcement follows a recent report of increased unemployment among the United Kingdom's youth. More than 22% of teenagers and young adults are now unemployed.
Data released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provide a silver lining. The data show that Britons in all age groups took on nearly two-thirds more apprenticeships in 2010-2011 compared with the previous academic year.
The Prime Minister emphasised that technical excellence, just like "academic prowess," is highly valued in the UK. He added, "And by focusing investment where it is most needed to deliver sustainable growth... we are equipping businesses with the skills they need to rebalance our economy and distribute opportunity more widely."