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A new programme to help 500 unemployed young people find jobs has been launched by The Prince’s Trust and Tesco.

A successful pilot programme in London has helped 12 young people to secure jobs at Tesco, and it will now be rolled out in other areas of the country with high levels of youth unemployment including Glasgow, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and North Wales.

It comes as new research shows that 74 per cent of British adults believe that youth unemployment is one of the biggest issues facing the UK today¹, and that one in five (19 per cent) of the UK’s young people are struggling to find work².

The new programme – Launch – offers unemployed 18-to-24-year olds employability skills training, hands-on experience and mentoring to help them find jobs.

All participants will receive ongoing support from Tesco and The Prince’s Trust following the four-week scheme.

Lisa McDermott, 21, from Leyton secured a job with Tesco after completing the programme last week. She said: “It was amazing to hear I’d got the job at Tesco and I couldn’t stop smiling! I’m not sure when it will sink in to be honest. I would love to work my way up and hope to be here for a long time. Just four weeks ago I was unemployed and feeling hopeless and now I’m looking forward to a bright future.”

Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust said: “Youth unemployment can contribute to low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and even depression. When an unemployed young person secures a job, it can quite literally transform their life. We are delighted to be working with Tesco to continue to reach those furthest from the jobs market.”

Judith Nelson, UK Personnel Director at Tesco, said “I’m incredibly proud of our record of helping young people to get a foot on the career ladder. We currently employ almost 65,000 young people in the UK and the scale of our business means each and every one of them has the chance to get on. We want to go even further by supporting more young people in the communities we serve, and by working together with The Prince’s Trust on this fantastic programme we can really change lives.”

USDAW General Secretary, John Hannett said “We welcome this new programme and Tesco’s commitment to supporting young people into work.  Many of our members have experienced challenges getting into the job market and we know that young people find it particularly hard to break the cycle of ‘no experience – no job, no job – no experience’.  The training and opportunities to learn on the job that this programme offers will be valuable in giving young people the skills and experience to succeed in the retail industry.”

This programme is part of the Movement to Work initiative designed to help tackle youth unemployment in the UK. Tesco is one of 15 leading UK employers already signed-up to the initiative, which aims to support 100,000 unemployed young people, giving them the skills and confidence to find a job. Tesco’s Regeneration Partnership programme has already helped more than 6,000 people out of long-term unemployment.

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust supported 58,000 young people last year. Three in four young people supported by The Trust move into work, education or training.