Nearly £2 million of EU funding has been announced by the Welsh Government to tackle in-work poverty and some of the challenges faced by lower-skilled workers in south east Wales.
The Skills@Work scheme, which will support around 1,400 people over the next 4 years, has been awarded £1.94 million EU funds and will be led by Newport City Council. Both employed and self-employed workers will be included in the programme, which will also benefit people in Cardiff and Monmouthshire.
The scheme will offer a range of community-based learning opportunities, including literacy, numeracy, ICT and other skills, focusing on helping learners gain qualifications from Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) entry level 1 to level 2, improving their job security and earning potential. Over 1,000 people helped by the scheme are expected to gain a qualification.
The scheme will help people improve their prospects as well as promote entrepreneurship and self-employment to allow people to move out of in-work poverty and progress in the labour market.
Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said:
“Sadly, around one in 10 people in work in the UK are in in-work poverty. Part-time jobs, low rates of hourly pay and a lack of career progression all take their toll. We’re determined to do all we can to address this, and I am confident collaborative efforts like this being led by Newport City Council, and made possible with EU funds, can help us achieve our ambitions."
Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said:
“Making sure we have a workforce with the skills necessary to thrive in a modern economy is absolutely central to our Economic Action Plan. This funding will enable workers currently suffering because of a shortage of such skills to access the training they need to gain recognised qualifications and progress their careers, helping tackle in-work poverty in areas where we know it remains far too prevalent.”
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of Newport City Council said:
“Newport City Council has a proven track record in delivering schemes to improve people’s skills so I’m delighted that Skills@Work has been approved.”
Alongside formal qualifications there will be help with wider work-relevant skills such as customer service, team working, communication and problem solving, and career progression skills such as CV writing, application forms and interview techniques. Personal barriers will also be addressed through support for confidence, motivation, self-esteem and to tackle work-specific barriers that may be restricting an individual’s employability.
In the last decade, EU-funded projects have created 47,000 new jobs and 13,000 new businesses across Wales, while also helping more than 85,000 people into employment.