Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
Today I am pleased to announce the launch of the “Moving Forward” project.
Moving Forward is a £3.4m two year project which will offer supported paid work placements for young people aged 16-18 targeting young people who have offended and young care leavers who are not engaged in education, employment or training. Moving Forward is funded through Dormant Account* funding allocated to Wales and administered by the Big Lottery Fund.
Moving Forward is a partnership project, led by Llamau, which provides young people who have offended and those leaving the care system with greater access to employment and training
Moving Forward offers young people who have offended and those leaving care a 26 week paid work placement, with a range of employers across Wales, with the aim that the employer will continue to employ them after the placement has ended. For young people needing extra support, the project will provide bespoke training in Literacy, Numeracy and ICT as well as generic employability skills. All young people enrolled on the project will receive a mentor and a personal development plan. Moving Forward partners are Llamau (Lead organisation), CBSA Wales, Sova, Construction Youth Trust and Gisda.
The underlying ethos of Moving Forward is about providing real paid work opportunities – not just work experience - and about maximising a young person’s chances of making the most of that opportunity to progress into sustained employment.
Latest figures continue to show that youth unemployment remains stubbornly high – in Wales and across the rest of the UK. However, we do take some encouragement from our latest official statistics on the numbers of young people not in education, work or training. The rate of 16-18 year olds NEET in Wales has decreased by 2 percentage points between 2011 and 2012. However, there is no complacency - we know that the real prize is securing a sustained reduction over time. This is a key element in our Tackling Poverty Action Plan and in our new Youth Engagement and Progression Framework Implementation Plan.
Moving Forward will complement our national Welsh Government programmes. Whilst our Jobs Growth Wales programme is assisting young people who are job ready to secure sustained employment, we know that for some young people, securing an employment opportunity can be a more difficult and daunting task and they may require additional support to get a job.
Some young people may have had more challenging lives that has made it difficult for them to get a job or to continue in further training. These young people often lack the employability skills they need to secure and sustain opportunities with employers. And, of course, employers also want employees with some degree of work experience behind them. It is often a vicious circle. The group that Moving Forward is targeting - young people in care and care leavers and young people who have offended - can often fall into this category.
There are only a limited number of projects and programmes specifically working with care leavers and young people who have offended. Moving Forward is therefore a unique opportunity. The Welsh Government and the BIG Lottery will be keen to evaluate the project and establish if it offers an effective model that can be replicated to support other groups of young people. Additionally, those delivering similar employment interventions will have a strong interest in any good practice emerging from the project.
*In November 2007, the UK government introduced a Bill into Parliament, setting out proposals for a new scheme to enable money held in ‘dormant’ bank and building society accounts to be re-invested in local communities. Cabinet has approved two spending priorities for the Dormant Accounts Scheme (DAS) in Wales:
(i) Supporting children and young people to achieve their full potential working through the third sector to promote social inclusion; and
(ii) Tackling climate change and promoting wider sustainable development through focused community-based activity.
The Dormant Account Funding for Wales is administered by the BIG Lottery Fund.