Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

20,000 Paul McKenna job talk 'not good public value'

Paul McKenna
Paul McKenna makes money as a motivational speaker

The decision to pay hypnotist Paul McKenna £20,000 to give a "pep talk" to jobless youngsters has been criticised by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The government-funded agency Skills Development Scotland is hosting the talk as part of a Get Ready for Work event for 16-19 year olds in Glasgow.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce director Liz Cameron said the fee could have been spent on apprenticeships.

The Scottish government said it was funding extra apprenticeship places.

Ms Cameron told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme she believed the best motivating force was to invest the money creating and supporting the jobs market for youngsters.

She said: "I think the wider picture here and the question is: 'Is this the most efficient use of our public purse?'

"I would say, at this time, no. I would like to see that fund being redirected and having some flexibility about it into creating and helping to support apprenticeships, to expand the apprenticeship programme.

"It's one very successful programme that at this point in time is widely oversubscribed."

The fee for Mr McKenna's talk emerged during first minister's questions on Thursday, where Alex Salmond said £16m was being used to support 7,800 additional apprenticeships.

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