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Blunkett to offer ‘golden hellos’ to employers taking on unemployed


The Department for Education and Employment has unveiled a new scheme designed to smooth the way for small businesses to take on long-term unemployed people from deprived communities.

The new scheme, called Recruit, was unveiled today by Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett as part of a package of measures designed to help job seekers and aid recruitment. Recruit will allow grants of up to £2300 to take on people from the New Deal schemes (including a training grant for the under-25s), while additional programmes will include a Job Transition Service to help communities faced with large-scale redundancies. Recruit will be launched in the Spring in 12 pilot areas around the country, and will pay businesses £2,310 for 18-24 year-old New Dealers, including a training payment of £750, and £1,950 for Over 25s. It is payable in two lump sums - a recruitment incentive payable up-front with the balance payable after 13 weeks to reward retention.

Employment Action Plans will form part of the plans being which will be developed by Regional Development Agencies, local Learning & Skills Councils and the Employment Service, which aim to match up skills and employment with economic needs.

Speaking before the launch, Mr Blunkett said: "As we get closer to full employment, we are faced with new challenges, as well as new opportunities, to make a real difference to some of our most deprived communities. That’s why we are now taking the next step with our employment policies. I want to make sure that the success story for combating youth unemployment is extended to the over 25s. I also want to ensure we reach the hardest to help – tackling skills-shortages, making the New Deal more flexible to cope with individual needs, and introducing new schemes like Recruit to help businesses and pave the way to employment." Mr Blunkett added that the New Deal would be made compulsory for the over 25s, as this appeared to have worked very well for 18-24 year-olds.


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