Unemployment in Salford is to be tackled head-on in a new scheme aimed at promoting jobs and apprenticeships for young people.
The Salford Futures initiative, launched by City Mayor Ian Stewart as part of the Greater Manchester Commitment to Youth Employment, guarantees a grant of £750 for local businesses that recruit and train unemployed young Salfordians.
A total of 343 grants are available for Salford businesses.
That is in addition to 50 grants of between £1,000 and £2,000 for companies who employ a Salford resident, aged 16 to 24, who is not in education, employment or training or an unemployed resident who is over 25 years old.
Salford’s city mayor Ian Stewart said: “Getting the young people of Salford into meaningful employment is so important to boost the city’s economic growth.
“This scheme gives local businesses an extra incentive to give our young people their first step on the career ladder, which could make a huge difference to their lives.”
National grants worth £1,500 are also available to employers who have not previously recruited an apprentice.
Mr Stewart added: “We know we are facing tough economic times but supporting employers to recruit young Salford people is a great way to make sure local businesses are providing opportunities for local people to get into employment and get ahead in life.”
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 12,000 Salfordians are unemployed. This is 10.6% of the economically active population in the area – an increase of more than 1% compared to the year before.
The 10% level in Salford is higher than the average for the North West and Great Britain, which are 8.9% and 8.1% respectively.
Historical data shows that, while the unemployment rate in Salford was consistently around the 6% level between 2005 and 2008, there was a big increase in 2009 and 2010.
Salford struggled with a record level of 11.2% in the period April 2009 and March 2010. The figure for the North West region for the same period was 8.8% and for Great Britain 7.9%.
Although the pattern at regional and national levels is similar, the increase in unemployment rates has been greater in Salford.
Visit http://www.salford.gov.uk/salford-futures.htm futures for more information about the Salford Futures scheme.
Interview with Union boss Alec McFadden on unemployment in Salford to follow on MM soon.