By Daniel Hunter

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Minister for Cities, Greg Clark, have announced the Leicester and Leicestershire City Deal which will create thousands of new jobs and apprentices.

The Leicester and Leicestershire City Deal aims to halve youth unemployment by establishing the Leicester and Leicestershire ‘Young Persons Pledge’.

This pledge commits the area to provide all 16 to 24-year-olds with the chance to secure sustained employment, education and training and is underpinned by the Leicester and Leicestershire ‘to work’ programme. This programme will:

- establish a case work support service that will provide personalised help for young people to give them the help they need to improve their education, seek training, secure an apprenticeship or get a job

- set up an Employment and Apprenticeship Hub that will drive up demand in local businesses for apprenticeships, traineeships and other national employment schemes
- create an innovative new employment and training scheme that will help 200 young offenders into work
- establish local youth employment schemes that complement national programmes

The ambitious deal will create 1,400 new jobs and 4,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships in Leicestershire. In total the deal will unlock over £130 million of public and private sector investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

"We’re giving Leicester the freedom, power and tools to be really innovative and design whole new ways of building a stronger economy and fairer society. This City Deal puts power in the hands of local people who know best what skills are needed in the area to give it a real chance of changing the fortunes of thousands of people across Leicestershire."

Greg Clark, Minister for Cities, said:

"Youth unemployment is already on the downward slide and this City Deal, proposed by local business, civic and university leaders in Leicester and the surrounding county, will help reduce it even more. By helping to grow local small and medium sized businesses, we will encourage and support more to take on trainees and apprentices to ensure the skills remain in the region. That way order books fill up and more young people have jobs. I’m delighted to be able to say ‘yes’ to the deal."

In addition to flagship youth unemployment programme the Leicestershire City Deal will also:

- provide funding to support the expansion of Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks
- provide a range of tailored business support programmes that will help grow small and medium enterprises
- establish a new pan-Midlands supply chain initiative that will support the growth of manufacturing and engineering small and medium enterprises
- enhance joint working between local authorities and the Homes and Communities Agency to co-ordinate the disposal and development of publicly owned land

Leicester and Leicestershire is the 16th of the 20 Wave 2 areas to conclude their City Deal.

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