The Government is to provide wage subsidies, worth half of the youth national minimum wage, to employers that take on an unemployed 18–24-year-old.

Nick Clegg is to set out the plans as part of a £1 billion youth contract programme to help get young people into work. Incentives worth £2,275 will be given to companies to cover half the amount needed to employ a young person for six months.

In order to receive the subsidy employers will need to apply to Jobcentre Plus. The money will be available from April 2012, and is intended to help get 160,000 NEET (young people not in employment, education or training) into work.

Although the money on the Government’s Work Programme is earmarked for those in greatest need, a Cabinet Office spokesman told the Telegraph that businesses can gain priority for the funding if they can prove a track record of training and hiring junior staff.

John Cridland, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, said that they are pleased with the Government’s announcement.

“It will encourage firms to take a gamble on a young inexperienced person and help tackle the scourge of youth unemployment,” he commented.

Other provisions to be announced as part of the youth contract programme include work experience placements for 250,000 lasting up to eight weeks, plus at least 20,000 incentive payments for companies in England to create more apprenticeships. Extra support and advice will also been given to young people at job centres.

Finally, employers will also be encouraged to take on the most disadvantaged 16–17-year-olds as either an apprentice or worker. The Government is offering £50 million for this scheme in order to get 25,000 into work. However, this money will be available on a payment-by-results basis once a person is engaged in sustainable learning or an apprenticeship.