£50m funding could help Sheffield’s young jobless

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Opposition councillors are calling on Sheffield to bid for a share of £50 million Government fund to help young people into work.

The new cashpot, unveiled by Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is ‘targeted at youth unemployment in England’s eight largest cities outside of London’.

The eight councils are being encouraged to develop innovative policies that will use the funds to help provide jobs to young people.

The fund complements Mr Clegg’s £1 billion ‘Youth Contract’ which helps fund apprenticeships.

Launching the fund, Mr Clegg said: “Youth unemployment has been a problem for a long time in this country, which is why I started the Youth Contract.

“We clearly have more work to do, but I am not going to turn my back on the young unemployed just because this is proving to be difficult.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Sheffield Council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group leader, said: “I’m urging the council to bid into this £50 million fund – so that we can help and support more young people in Sheffield into long- term jobs.”

But Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Central Labour MP, said: “Tackling rising youth unemployment is a priority. Sheffield Council’s pioneering apprenticeship scheme is delivering real results.

“It’s a contrast with Nick Clegg’s failing Youth Contract scheme which was slammed last week for £1billion creating just 4,690 jobs against a target of 160,000.”

Sheffield Council’s scheme, costing £250,000 a year, has created apprenticeships for 239 young people since 2011, 35 of whom have now completed their training and moved into full-time employment.