The inclusion in the workplace of young people in the UK could be improved should a new government training programme for 16 to 24-year-olds prove successful.

Announced today (January 10th) by skills minister Matthew Hancock, the new ‘traineeships’ scheme aims to prepare young people for work by equipping them with essential employment skills needed to compete for jobs and apprenticeships.

Part of the traineeships would focus on work preparation training, such as CV writing, interview preparation, job search techniques and inter-personal skills.

The scheme would also seek to equip young people with basic English and maths skills if they have not achieved a GCSE grade C or better in these subjects.

Another facet of the traineeship programme would be the provision of high-quality work experience for young people to enhance their skills and confidence.

“We want to support everyone in our country to reach their personal best,” said Mr Hancock.

“To do that, we are introducing traineeships to help young people with the skills they need to get a job, and hold down a job.”

The scheme, currently still in the consultation stage but expected to come into effect later this year, comes at a time when the number of ‘Neets’ – those not in education, employment or training – is above the one-million mark.

However, according to last year’s annual education and skills survey from the Confederation of British Industry, almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of employers are unsatisfied with the self-management skills of school leavers.

Furthermore, 35 per cent said they were unhappy with young people’s literacy skills and 30 per cent were not satisfied with their levels of numeracy.

Commenting on the new traineeship proposals, Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “We have been arguing for some time for a pre-apprenticeship ‘offer’ to young people, a mixture of training and work experience that makes them attractive to employers and competitive for apprenticeships or for other jobs with training.

“We therefore welcome this consultation and the thinking that underlies the questions that it poses.”