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Kingfisher to create 1,000's of apprentices

Kingfisher Plc B&Q home improvement chain and Centrica Plc British Gas backed U.K. plans to create at least 1,000 apprenticeships as part of the government’s “Green Deal” that aims to insulate every home.

Building manager Carillion Plc (CLLN) and the insulator InstaGroup will also take part in the program, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today in an e-mailed statement. In a separate statement, DECC set out for the first time a detailed timetable of the measures it’s taking to cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, with deadlines for their completion.

“The new green economy is going to support jobs, growth and help defend Britain from high oil prices,” Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said in the statement. “To succeed we’ll need a big injection of skills and investment.”

The Green Deal lays out incentives to insulate the nation’s 26 million homes, and is the centerpiece of legislation put before Parliament on Dec. 8 and being debated today in the upper chamber. The government says the plan may create 100,000 jobs by 2015 and is crucial to help the U.K. meet its goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 34 percent from 1990 levels in 2020.

Jobs for Youths

The apprenticeships may also help the government bring down youth unemployment, which rose to a record in the fourth quarter. About 80 percent of apprentices are aged 16 to 24 when they start training, the energy department said. Joblessness in that age group reached 965,000 in the fourth quarter, or 20.5 percent, the highest since comparable records began in 1992.

The government didn’t detail how many apprentices each of the companies will take. A spokesman for the energy department said they would be funded from a 1.4 billion-pound ($2.3 billion) program paying for more than 350,000 apprentices across all industries for the tax year through March 2012. The government will lay out its next budget on March 23.

“Building a greener future must be at the heart of this month’s budget,” Mike Childs, head of climate at the environmental group Friends of the Earth, said in an e-mailed statement. “Thousands of new green jobs could be created if we invested in the U.K.’s vast green energy potential and slashed energy waste.”

Source : Alex Morales - Bloomberg

08 March 2011
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