Scottish Borders Council has secured £240,000 in government funding to support up to 80 job placements in the region.
The council has successfully applied for money through the ‘Youth Employment Scotland’ (YES) initiative to fund an employer recruitment incentive to encourage local businesses to create new jobs.
The scheme will target job ready young people aged 16-24 who have been unemployed for up to six months and have had difficulty in securing employment.
The grant scheme will provide half of the salary costs for the work placements at a minimum wage level, for a six month period.
The scheme will be launched in late summer this year and all participants must have confirmed placements by March next year.
SBC will work with the Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and Business Gateway to encourage small businesses to create these new jobs for young people.
FSB has identified that many small businesses find it difficult to recruit as they have neither the time nor the knowledge to work systematically through the process.
By engaging Business Gateway advisors the Council hopes to help small Borders companies through the recruitment process.
Commenting on the scheme, Councillor Stuart Bell, SBC’s executive member for economic development said: “The prolonged economic downturn brought on by the global economic crisis has hit young people particularly hard.
“Even where jobs do exist, young people face the catch-22 problem of not being able to get a job without experience but are unable to gain experience without a job.
“The new ‘YES – Scottish Borders’ moves forward the Council’s commitment to help unemployed 16-24 year olds into work. It builds on measures already available which provide education and training to prepare young people towards employment.
“I am very hopeful that local small businesses will come forward to take up this opportunity to help their business, and more importantly, to help our young people get a foothold on the career ladder.”
Over £500,000 will be invested by government in improving the youth unemployment situation in the south of Scotland, with a share of £321,880 going to Dumfries and Galloway council to support the creation of 100 jobs.
Statistics suggest that the youth unemployment picture in the area is improving with the number of 16-24 year olds claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance dropping from 690 to 605 in the Scottish Borders and from 1,085 to 970 in Dumfries and Galloway from May 2012 to May 2013.