BUSINESSES can benefit from helping Southampton’s nearly 1,400 young people without jobs.

That is the message from Minister for Employment Mark Hoban, the Fareham MP, who has put down the challenge to businesses in the city to get involved in the £1bn Youth Contract.

This is a Government package of support offering nearly half a million opportunities to help those aged 18 to 24 get into work.

As part of this there are 160,000 wage incentives on offer, which give employers up to £2,275 when they take on a young person who has been unemployed for more than six months.

There are currently 1,390 in Southampton looking for jobs and to get off benefits.

Mr Hoban, who was launching an advertising drive to promote the scheme, said his message to businesses in Southampton was that the cash was waiting for them to take up the opportunity.

“There really is no better time to change a young person’s life and invest in the future of your business at the same time, so snap up the money before someone else beats you to it,”

he said.

“With the extra work experience placements and apprenticeships we’re also providing we will ensure young jobseekers have the skills they need to make a real contribution in the workplace.

“They just need to get their foot in the door so they can prove their worth to local businesses.”

The Youth Contract, which launched in April, is designed to provide nearly half a million new opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements.

The government has also increased support and help to the young in areas like Jobcentre Plus and sector-based work academies.

To find out more how businesses can get involved in the Youth Contract call Jobcentre Plus on 0845 6012001 (option 2) or the Department of Work and Pensions website.