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Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, said 100,000 job opportunities will be created for young people within four years as it expands an alliance with about 200 companies including Google Inc. to cut youth joblessness.

Nestle plans to provide a fifth of those positions, Laurent Freixe, head of European operations for the KitKat and Nespresso maker, said at a press conference at its Vevey, Switzerland headquarters.

Youth unemployment stood at almost 22 percent in the European Union in July, and in the worst cases, such as Spain and Greece, it was more than 50 percent. Members of the initiative, called Alliance for Youth, include Adecco SA and Twitter Inc. Some have set targets, such as French insurer Axa SA, which has pledged 20,000 internships and jobs by 2018.

“There’s a kind of vicious circle: you have markets with high unemployment, and then companies reduce investment there,” Freixe said. “We want to create an environment where companies want to take the risk of giving someone a first job.”

Nestle, which pays its interns, expects it will gain digital-savvy new employees to help replace retiring workers to keep its approximately 150 factories in Europe churning out higher volumes. Some European countries don’t have legal frameworks for apprenticeships to exist, and governments should change that, Freixe said.

Baby Boomers

“The baby boomers are retiring, and society needs to replace them,” he said. “In the next 15 to 30 years, there will be more people retiring than young people entering the job market.”

Nestle said it has created more than 8,000 jobs and traineeships for people under 30 since it began the program last year.

Ernst & Young, another member of the initiative, has said it plans to add 55,000 traineeships and 35,000 internships across Europe by 2020.

Europe has about 4.5 million interns and trainees, Allan Pall, secretary general for lobby group the European Youth Forum, said at Nestle’s event. About 60 percent are unpaid and 49 percent need the support of their parents, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.net; Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net Robert Valpuesta, Paul Jarvis

Bloomberg