£9m EU funding boost to tackle long-term unemployment in South West Wales
A £9 million EU-funded scheme to tackle long-term unemployment in South West Wales has been announced by Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt.
Workways+, led by Neath Port Talbot Council, will offer training and paid work experience opportunities to 4,000 long-term unemployed people to help get their lives back on track.
Support will target disadvantaged people, helping them to take their first steps to re-engage or enter into the labour market.
Backed by £7.5 million of EU funds, the three-year scheme will benefit people in Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. The remainder of the funding will be provided by the South West Wales local authorities involved in delivering Workways+.
The Finance Minister announced the EU funds at the Baglan Innovation Centre – one of the locations where training and work experience will be available through the scheme.
Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:
“We are committed to improving the career prospects of people affected by long-term unemployment and I’m delighted that we are able to invest EU funds to help us achieve this goal.
“The Welsh Government strongly believes that well-paid, skilled work is the best route out of poverty and that support must be given to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our communities to help them gain new skills and progress into sustainable jobs.”
Workways+ will also offer one-to-one mentoring, support with job-seeking and interview skills, and the chance to gain new qualifications. Support will target individuals affected by work-limiting health conditions and disabilities, as well as those with care responsibilities and low or no skills.
The project builds on the success of the first EU-backed Workways project which helped over 5,000 people in South West Wales into work between 2009 and 2014.
Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Cllr Alun Thomas, said:
“The original Workways project achieved tremendous results in helping people into work, and was exceptionally well respected by participants and employers alike.
“I am therefore delighted at the Minister’s announcement that EU funding has been made available for Workways+, and I am confident that the dedicated staff will once again ensure that the project is a great success and will help many more people into meaningful and rewarding employment.”
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