Two major projects backed by EU funding to boost the prospects of young people in Wales have been announced by Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford.
The projects will provide individually-tailored programmes of support, including training, volunteering opportunities and paid work placements, for more than 9,000 people over the next three years.
A further £5.8m of EU funds will support the £8.3m expansion of the Active Inclusion Fund to include opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds in North and West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.
Professor Drakeford said:
“I’m delighted to announce EU funding for these projects, which will translate into improved skills, prospects and new opportunities for thousands of young people in Wales, helping them to reach their potential.
“These are important projects which are benefiting from the millions of pounds Wales receives from the European Union, which in turn are helping people into work and training; are supporting businesses; improving our roads and infrastructure and helping to regenerate communities.
“This is why it’s essential that we get a guarantee from the UK Government that Wales will not lose a penny of this funding as a result of leaving the EU.
”While arrangements are being made for the UK to leave the EU, we are pressing ahead with the delivery of our existing EU programmes in Wales, investing in projects to ensure continuity for citizens, communities and businesses.”
The Cynnydd scheme aims to help young people progress further in education and training and improve their future job and career prospects.
Support will include individual mentoring, coaching and counselling; courses to improve basic skills, self-esteem and life skills and work experience and volunteering opportunities.
The investment in Cynnydd follows £30m of EU funds invested earlier this year for similar schemes to support young people in North Wales, the South Wales Valleys and South East Wales.
Pembrokeshire Council’s cabinet member for the economy and communities Councillor Keith Lewis said:
“The new Cynnydd project is a wonderful opportunity for us to improve the future for young people who without this support might have struggled against life’s challenges.
“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all project, but one that will be tailored to the needs and aspirations of each young person.”
The Active Inclusion fund, which is managed by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, will benefit almost 5,000 young people, providing skills programmes and paid work placements for those who are out-of-work.
Phil Fiander, the WCVA’s director of operations, said:
“Almost 5,000 young people will benefit from the expansion of the Active Inclusion Fund, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds who need this type of support to turn their lives around.
“This funding will create community-based opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds to improve their skills and take part in paid work placements that will suit a wide range of interests, talents and abilities.”