Jeff Cuthbert, Deputy Minister for Skills
In April 2012 the Welsh Government launched the Jobs Growth Wales programme with a view to creating 4,000 job opportunities per year over the next three years for young people aged between 16 and 24. The programme is aimed at tackling some of the issues young people face in the current labour market, where they are denied access to jobs because they lack the work experience so valued by employers. Jobs Growth Wales has been designed to create job opportunities across all sectors and across all parts of Wales to ensure young people from every area have an opportunity to participate.
I am pleased to be able to announce that as of this week the programme has reached a significant milestone in this first year of delivery with the creation of our 4,000th job opportunity.
Over the remaining months to March 2013 we will concentrate our efforts on ensuring that these job opportunities are filled. To date we have seen just over 2,000 young people find employment through Jobs Growth Wales; I have visited some of them and have been impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment to make the most of the opportunity they have been given.
I have also been pleased with the response from businesses in Wales to create the additional jobs for young people, and I am encouraged to hear that many employers have been impressed by the calibre of the young people they have employed through the programme and also the effect this has had on their perception of young people in the work place in general. This can only bode well for the future.
I must stress however that Jobs Growth Wales is not a ‘work experience’ programme; we have a very clear ambition that the 6 month job opportunities created through the programme will translate into permanent positions or apprenticeship places for as many of the participants as possible.
We will continue to focus on bringing young people into the programme by encouraging them to apply for jobs through the scheme, and we must also work with employers to ensure that they are able to sustain the jobs that have been created once our support has ceased.