By Daniel Hunter

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today (Wednesday) announced a vital funding boost of £6m to help small and medium sized companies in the capital offer apprenticeships to young people in search of work.

With new unemployment figures out today, the Mayor revealed that small and medium sized businesses will be entitled to apply for a £1,500 incentive payment if they employ an apprentice aged 16 to 24 as part of a new Government initiative managed by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

The new grant, known as AGE 16 to 24, means that a further 4,000 new apprenticeship opportunities could be created in London, which is a significant boost towards the Mayor’s target to create 100,000 apprenticeships by the end of this year.

The Mayor also unveiled details of a new initiative he is backing as part of his Team London programme, which will bring together staff from eight leading UK and international firms to run a wide range of careers workshops, seminars and training sessions for thousands of young Londoners aged between 14 and 19.

The ‘Skills for Success’ scheme will see eight top companies — Team London's lead corporate partner Bloomberg LP, BT, P&G, KPMG, Citi, IBM, Addison Lee and Barclays - bringing new and existing employability schemes under the Team London banner as part of a concerted city-wide effort to better prepare young Londoners for the world of work.

"In an ever competitive jobs market it is essential that young people are given the skills they need to prepare for and succeed in the world of work," The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said.

"Apprenticeships and job training schemes are fantastic ways for employers to tap into the pool of talent we have in London, while giving young people vital experience of what employers are looking for.

"I urge smaller firms to check out the new incentive payments that are available for apprenticeships and strongly encourage big companies to join Team London so we can roll out the Skills for Success initiative right across this city."

The Mayor, who last month revealed that 54,470 apprenticeships have been created in the capital since July 2010, also announced today that he has beaten his target to create 3,000 apprenticeships throughout the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its supply chain in the past three years.

A total of 3,062 apprenticeship places have been delivered throughout the GLA family, which includes Transport for London, Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade.

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