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More than 100 food and grocery businesses unite to tackle youth unemployment

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More than 100 companies in the food and grocery industry are supporting a drive to tackle youth unemployment.

The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) initiative, Feeding Britain's Future, has pledged 12,000 pre-employment training places for young unemployed people at 1,000 locations in the UK this September.

Companies already signed up include Nestle, Mondelez, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Tesco and Morrisons.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said employers in the industry need to work together to tackle youth unemployment at the event luanch yesterday in Westminster.

"We can't have youth unemployment as high as it is today and the skills shortages we see without preparing young people to take these jobs," he said.

"It's our job and our responsibility to make sure young people have the chance, skills and experience to take on these jobs as they are created. Job creation is happening, so we've got to make sure young people are ready to seize the opportunity."

Feeding Britain's Future will offer young people work experience, training in CV writing, interviewing and presenting, giving young people valuable experience and confidence to apply for jobs.

Paul Dowd, head coach partner at Morrisons supermarket, said tackling youth unemployment was uniting companies across the food and grocery supply chain, which is Britain's largest private sector employer.

"This is not a competitive issue," he said. "It's about us all as employers collaborating to give young people the opportunity."

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said as well as helping young people into work, the initiative aims to change perceptions of the food and grocery industry.

"We need to open the doors of our industry and open the eyes of thousands young people to a rewarding and enriching career," she said. "The food and grocery industry is one where it's possible to run your own successful business or start from the bottom and get to the very top - even with very few qualifications."

In last year's pilot of the scheme, 98% of young participants said they felt more confident about applying for jobs, and 93% said they were more likely to consider a job in the food and grocery industry.