Berkshire

Reading and Leeds festival apprenticeship scheme launched

Reading Festival 2011 main stage Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The apprenticeships offer a chance to work for Reading and Leeds festivals

Young job seekers have been invited to apply for England's first music festival apprentice scheme.

Reading and Leeds festival boss Melvin Benn has set up two paid 12-month posts to work for both live music events.

Mr Benn, who has also set up 10 three-week internships, said he was reacting to unemployment figures - the UK jobless total is at a 17-year high.

He said: "As somebody who runs a company whose primary target is young people, I wanted to respond to it."

Mr Benn, who runs the live events company Festival Republic, will offer apprentices and interns a chance "to see how things work behind the scenes".

Applicants must be between 18 and 25 years old.

'Not free labour'

Placements will include work in production, artist liaison, marketing, social media and ticketing as well as on site roles.

"Work is clearly tougher for young people at the moment compared to 10 years ago and even five years ago," said Mr Benn.

He dismissed the idea the internships were "free labour" and said the placements were additional posts to his workforce, not filling vacancies.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson said he "congratulated" Mr Benn on the placements.

He added: "With so many young people facing a challenging time getting a job, it's important that companies are prepared to give them an opportunity to get their foot on the first rung of the ladder."

According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK unemployment rate was 8.4% in the three months to December.

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