By Daniel Hunter

Businesses are being targeted in a new Government campaign urging them to kick off the new year by taking on a young person.

Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, challenged businesses as he launched the new Youth Contract: Works for me advertising drive on local radio stations.

The campaign raises awareness of the £1bn Youth Contract, the Government’s package of support offering nearly half a million opportunities to help 18-24 year-olds into work.

Mr Hoban is particularly urging businesses to take advantage of 160,000 wage incentives offered as part of the package. These give employers up to £2,275 when they take on a young person who has been unemployed for more than six months.

"My message to businesses for 2013 is simple: We've got up to £2,275 of cash sitting on the table waiting for you to take it up. So take on a young person, who's been out of work for six months, and the cash is yours," Mr Hoban, said.

"There really is no better time to change a young person's life and invest in the future of your business at the same time, so snap up the money before someone else beats you to it.

"With the extra work experience placements and apprenticeships we’re also providing we will ensure young jobseekers have the skills they need to make a real contribution in the workplace. They just need to get their foot in the door so they can prove their worth to local businesses."

Over the next two weeks the Youth Contract advertising campaign will feature on local radio stations across the North East, before working its way down the country to radio stations in Yorkshire & the Humber, and Birmingham throughout February.

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