BUSINESSES are being urged to seize financial incentives to hire jobless youngsters.

The £2billion Kickstart scheme, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year, offers support for businesses that offer jobs to people aged 16-24 who are on universal credit.

Solent Apprenticeship Hub is hosting a webinar for business to find out more on Wednesday, October 20.

The scheme will give funding to employers to create six-month job placements for young people at risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding will cover the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, the associated National Insurance Contributions, employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions and £1,500 per placement for set-up costs, support and training.

Employers can pay for additional weekly hours or to pay more than the minimum wage.

Solent Apprenticeship Hub said the scheme could benefit young people and also employers of all sizes.

Jodi Fair, Solent Apprenticeship Hub manager, said: “At a time when there is increased volatility in the economy, businesses have a crucial role to play in supporting our future workforce; whether through skills development, encouraging active citizenship or improving pathways to good quality jobs.

“The Kickstart scheme will offer exceptional financial rewards to businesses that offer these placements as the government are paying the wages, up to 25 hours a week, of any young person who is employed through this scheme.”

The apprenticeship hub is led by Southampton City Council, with partners including Hampshire and Portsmouth councils, Solent University, the University of Portsmouth, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr Lorna Fielker, Southampton council’s cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “Given the exceptional impact that Covid-19 is having on youth employment, now is the time for businesses to engage and lead from the front with Kickstart, to create new long term foundations for both themselves and our local young workforce.

“We’re encouraging as many businesses as possible in the region to ready themselves for Kickstart as we all look to tackle the national challenge of rising youth unemployment. Southampton City Council will be offering at least 30 of these placements, offering huge benefits to both the council and the young people who will benefit from securing the employment and gaining invaluable experience.”

For details of the webinar, email hello@solentapprenticeshiphub.com or visit eventbrite.co.uk