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Monday, December 14, 1998 Published at 09:14 GMT

Business: The Economy

New Deal on course for success

A TV campaign helped to raise the profile of the New Deal scheme

The Government's flagship New Deal jobs programme has taken longer than planned to "hit its stride" but is on course to be the most successful scheme of its kind according to a new report.

BBC Breakfast News: "Some firms have had difficulty in getting recruits"
The number of people finding a job or a place on a training or education scheme is now growing at a healthy rate says the Unemployment Unit research group.

But the report highlighted some "glitches" in the multi-million pound programme launched nationwide earlier this year, which have led to varying degrees of success in some regions.

[ image: Some areas of the country are more successful than others in helping young people find jobs]
Some areas of the country are more successful than others in helping young people find jobs
Around 168,000 young unemployed people have joined the New Deal programme, with 58% still undertaking the so-called "gateway" preparatory programme.

Paul Convery, joint director of the Unemployment Unit said: "New Deal has taken a little longer than originally planned to really hit its stride.

"But job entry rates and the numbers going into training are now pushing upwards rapidly and the programme is on course to do better than any previous scheme for the unemployed."

A regional breakdown of the scheme showed the best success rate for helping people find jobs have been in parts of Scotland, including Skye, Orkney, Lochaber and Inverness, while the lowest rates have been in parts of London.

Early days

Employment Minister Andrew Smith said the figures he was publishing covered only those people who entered the New Deal in April.

"We can't read too much into what are early figures and we will want to examine performance on a range of measures over a longer period to form a rounded judgement," said the minister.

"But it is encouraging that some of the most successful areas have already helped 40% or more young people into jobs after six months."

He said that since the New Deal began, a total of 38,400 young people had gone into jobs and 22,430 had gone into education and voluntary options.

The "true cost" of jobs secured so far was currently around £1,000 per job.

He said "more valid" comparisons would be able to be made between areas as further information was gathered.

"The evidence so far on jobs is positive. Comparing areas where the New Deal has been operating for longer - since January - with those where it was introduced in April, a bigger proportion of young people are leaving unemployment because of New Deal and a bigger proportion are going into jobs."

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