Prime Minister gives backing to Microsoft work programme

DAVID Cameron yesterday welcomed an initiative from Microsoft that aims to help 300,000 young people gain work skills over the next three years.

The Prime Minister met with the Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and said the “Get On” scheme is “the kind of support we need from business to inspire, provide skills, and create meaningful opportunities in the industries that will drive our economy forward in the future”.

A large proportion of the scheme’s headline figure can be ascribed to non-direct forms of training, including the 30,000 people aged 16-24 year olds who will receive “work inspiration sessions”.

However it will also include 4,000 paid apprenticeships, 10,000 places on pre-apprenticeship training schemes, as well as 1,000 positions for graduates who failed to get a job at Microsoft but can be placed with other technology firms.

The news comes as official figures released yesterday appear to show a decline in the number of people being referred to the government’s flagship Work Programme scheme.

Around 877,880 people were involved in the programme between July 2011 and June 2012, which offers financial incentives to organisations who place the long-term unemployed in jobs.

But the number of monthly referrals appears to have declined on a regular basis since the start of 2012.