Gordon Brown has pledged to create 20,000 new skilled internships and ‘green’ work placements to help tackle youth unemployment.
In his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, the prime minister revealed that the government had agreed a partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to offer 10,000 young people new skilled internships.
A further 10,000 green work placements will be created through partnerships with the Eden Project and the Prince’s May Day Network – the UK’s largest group of businesses committed to tackling climate change.
Official figures show that the number of 16- to 24-year-olds now out of work reached 947,000 in the three months to July 2009, up 59,000 from the previous quarter.
Brown told the conference: “To add to the 100,000 new young people’s jobs we are already creating we can today offer, in partnership with the FSB, 10,000 skilled internships so that, even in the midst of tough economic times, we are encouraging a whole new generation of young Britons to embrace ambition and British enterprise.
“And I can also announce we will work with the Eden Project and Mayday Network to create the biggest group of green work placements we have ever done – 10,000 green job placements so that our young people can make the most of the opportunities the low carbon economy will open up to them.”
He reiterated that the government’s focus on a green economy would create over a quarter of a million new green jobs in the UK. However in July the government promised to create 500,000 new green jobs by 2020.
Brown today pledged that even with the need for public spending cuts there would be “no cap on aspiration, no ceiling on opportunity, and no limit on where your talents can take you”.
He also vowed that the National Minimum Wage – which is 60% higher than it was when it was first introduced – would be raised every year for the next five years.
Finally, adding weight to Lord Mandelson’s calls for Britain to develop into an “innovation nation”, Brown announced a £1bn innovation fund to support manufacturing and research and development.