Two programmes with a proven record in breaking down barriers to employment for thousands of people are set to be extended with more than £29 million in EU funding, Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates has announced.
The Communities for Work (CfW) and Parents Childcare and Employment (PaCE) programmes, both of which are supported by the European Social Fund and delivered in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), local authorities and the third sector, will now continue until June 30, 2022.
An additional £23.4 million of EU funding will be provided for the CfW programme, with an extra £5.6 million for PaCE. This will bring EU, Welsh Government and DWP investment in the 2 programmes to £123 million over their lifetime.
CfW supports those furthest from the labour market, and living in the most deprived communities in Wales, where there is a realistic prospect of moving them closer to work and into employment. Meanwhile PaCE specifically supports parents into training or employment where childcare is their main barrier.
Since their introduction in 2015, the Welsh Government’s Community Employability Programmes, which are made up of CfW, PaCE and Communities for Work Plus, have been accessed by nearly 35,000 people in Wales and have helped nearly 12,000 people into employment.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“Employability support is vital in times of economic uncertainty and hugely important to people who for whatever reason, find themselves removed from the labour market. I am extremely proud of the positive impact our Community Employability Programmes are having on some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities and genuinely impressed by the success they are having in supporting participants to return to work.
“Working in the heart of our communities, these programmes complement the launch of Working Wales in April to ensure a seamless, personalised service is offered to individuals looking to get into, or back into, work.
Counsel General Jeremy Miles, who is responsible for European funded projects in Welsh Government, said:
“We are facing unprecedented challenges in terms of public finances but also in accessing labour markets, so it is vitally important we unlock all opportunities to workers in Wales and boost our economic growth.
“We have benefitted significantly from our membership of the EU, including through around £4 billion of Structural Funds over the last decade which has made a huge impact on businesses, skills and jobs across Wales. So it’s vital this funding is maintained in the future, and we are working closely with stakeholders across Wales to put in place a successor framework for regional investment should we leave the EU.
In the last decade, EU-funded projects in Wales have created more than 48,000 jobs and 13,000 new businesses, while helping 86,000 people back into work.