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85,000 opportunities pledged for young people
Over 150 top British employers have thrown their weight behind Backing Young Britain, a national campaign to create new opportunities for thousands of young people during the recession.
Government and employers are pledging an extra 85,000 opportunities for young people today. These range from Morrisons pledging new training for every one of its 36,000 employees under the age of 25, to Government providing help to get 45,000 young people into jobs in retail, tourism, leisure and hospitality.
There are also 5,000 new opportunities, including apprenticeships from companies including Centrica, Carillion and Royal Mail.  Other employers backing the campaign, and pledging support include Microsoft, Bovis Lendlease, Pfizer and Phones4U.
The Prime Minister, Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper and top employers signed up to Backing Young Britain, met 250 young people at a Youth Summit at Birmingham City Football Club today.
Gordon Brown said: "I am delighted that 150 employers recognise the value of Backing Young Britain and have joined the campaign. Together we can create thousands of opportunities for young people and ensure that the next generation gets its foot on the career ladder.
"This Government will do everything we can to help people who are suffering because of the global economic downturn. We know that people of all ages are being hit by the recession, but it is young people who can be most at risk and that's where Backing Young Britain can really make a difference."  
Young people also took part in a panel debate with the Prime Minister and Yvette Cooper, hosted by BBC TVs Anita Rani. Other members of the panel included Martina Milburn from the Princes Trust, Sam Laidlaw from Centrica, Imran Hakim of iTeddy and Jill Youds from Virgin Media.
In July, the Government announced the first 47,000 jobs from the 1bn Future Jobs Fund, which will create 100,000 new jobs targeted at young people.
The Government also announced 45,000 new training and support opportunities to help young people move into sectors that need new talent and have jobs to fill including hospitality, leisure, tourism and retail. In the last three months, over 70,000 vacancies were notified to Jobcentre Plus in retail alone, and the Government is working with industry to make sure young people get the chance to take up more of these jobs.
If young people are job ready, they will be helped into a job, with a financial incentive to employers who take them on. If they are not, they will get the training they need and then be helped to find work.
Yvette Cooper said: We will not lose a generation of young people to work because of the global recession. We already have over 150 of Britains top employers signing up to Backing Young Britain to create opportunities for young people.  It is crucial for all of us that we make sure we do everything we can to harness the skills and talent of young people now so that we can all benefit in the future. We are acting now so that unemployment does not scar families, communities and the economy for generations.
The Government also said that over 230,000 unemployed people have been helped into jobs through Local Employment Partnerships with more than 25,000 employers signed up to work with Jobcentre Plus to help unemployed people back to work.
LEPs help employers to recruit more people, such as the long-term unemployed, for whom the jobs market can be particularly tough, and can involve such measures as guaranteed interviews, special recruitment processes, pre-employment training and work trials. 
Young people will also get the help they need sooner: 18-24 year olds will be able to take up a new job from the Future Jobs Fund earlier after claiming Jobseekers Allowance for ten months rather than a year, from April 2010.
Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson said:
"Today's package of support for young people is a win-win situation for everyone.  The benefits will be felt by the person who gets a foot on the employment ladder, the business gets a new addition to the team, and the country as a whole.
Work experience, offering internships to graduates and investing in skills and training are vital to equipping young people and businesses with the tools to come out of the downturn in a strong position." 
To find out more about how to join the Backing Young Britain Campaign visit


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