The MP for North West Hampshire has written to local employers and business groups to call on them to sign up to a new job placement scheme.

Kit Malthouse wrote to the organisations regarding the government’s £2 billion “Kickstart” apprenticeship scheme, which aims to get 16 to 24-year-olds into work.

Under the scheme, the government will fund the wages, pension and National Insurance contributions for 25 hours per week, paying the minimum wage for that age.

In addition, the government will grant businesses £1,500 per placement to cover the set up costs or any support or training that may be required, while they can spread the placements until the end of 2021.

Businesses need to be able to offer 30 apprenticeship placements to apply, or they can go through an intermediary. Locally, the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Enham Trust and New Forest Business Partnership are all administering applications for the scheme.

Kit Malthouse said that there are 635 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds across Test Valley, with 315 in Andover, and said that “getting them into work is vital for their long-term career prospects.”

He said: “Young people’s jobs are being especially hard hit by COVID and at a vital time for their professional development. The skills and experienced gained early in a career provide the solid foundation needed to grow.

“At the same time businesses can’t afford to take many risks in these uncertain times, so the government will cover the cost and eliminate the risk. The kickstart scheme is a win-win for businesses and apprentices and I encourage employers of all shapes and sizes to sign up.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “This isn’t just about kickstarting our country’s economy – it is an opportunity to kickstart the careers of thousands of young people who could otherwise be left behind as a result of the pandemic.

“The scheme will open the door to a brighter future for a new generation and ensure the UK bounces back stronger as a country.”

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