AN MP has welcomed a scheme designed to help young jobseekers get into employment.

Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb praised the Government’s £1 billion Youth Contract, which will set out to create up to 410,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and work experience placements over the next three at the initiative’s South Gloucestershire launch in Horfield Jobcentre.

Around 1,340 people between the ages of 18 and 24 years old are unemployed and on the receiving end of the jobseekers' allowance in the region, according to recent statistics.

And 5.1 per cent of teenagers aged 16 and 17 in the district are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

As part of the programme, wage subsidies will be offered to various companies across the region to give employers an incentive to recruit new staff or take on young apprentices.

Mr Webb told the Gazette: "I very much welcome this new initiative to help local young people get into work. The Youth Contract will give financial support to employers who take on a young unemployed person and will also increase the capacity of the Work Experience programme."

South Gloucestershire Cllr Ian Blair (Lib Dem, Yate North) said the Youth Contract would not only get youngsters into employment but ensure that they acquired the necessary skills for their chosen area of work.

He said: "If young people are out of work, the consequences of that will be felt for a long time afterwards. We have to ensure that the young people of today do not have a false start to their careers.

"The Youth Contract will help those who need it most through advice, support, training and by giving people in South Gloucestershire the experience necessary to be successful in the workplace."