Business and social welfare groups are being invited to submit innovative proposals to help better prepare young people for the workforce under a pilot scheme. The scheme, the first collaborative project by the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund and the Labour Department, hopes to provide 'through-train' employment programmes that will prepare young people for work and provide jobs in some cases. The department is hoping the scheme will help foster a better attitude to work. Of more than 140,000 people who completed the government's youth employment programmes in the past decade, nearly a third could not find a job, said Stanley Ng Ka-kwong, assistant commissioner for labour. A business leader attributed the high youth unemployment rate to poor communication skills and lack of motivation for learning and work. The proposals for the new scheme can include requests for funding on programmes that set out mentorship or internship ideas, and suggestions on how people can be encouraged to take part. Welfare and professional groups would be expected to provide counselling services and mentoring to instil positive values and pathways to jobs. Grace Ng Fung-mo, the project's manager at the Labour and Welfare Bureau, said the Labour Department would be mainly responsible for providing pre-employment training, while the business sector was expected to offer internships or positions. The Community Investment and Inclusion Fund, an initiative proposed in the 2001 chief executive's policy address to enhance community care and social networks, will provide funding for approved programmes. Fund chairman Yeung Ka-sing said the 'through-train' programmes aimed to enhance confidence and instil positive attitudes in preparing for the tough work environment. Ricky Szeto Wing-fu of the herbal tea chain Hung Fook Tong said many corporations were willing to offer jobs to youth, but would need more backup from government and welfare groups to equip them with a hard-working attitude. Mr Ng said the pilot scheme would last a year and there would be no upper limit for the number of approved projects. The deadline for submissions is November 30.