Jobs Growth Wales: Youth scheme hits target year early

Ricky Owen Image copyright Hydratech-Evans Coolants
Image caption Ricky Owen has become an apprentice after his initial six month placement

The number of temporary jobs available to young people through a flagship scheme is higher than expected after a target was reached a year early.

Jobs Growth Wales has created more than 13,000 opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds since it was launched in 2012.

Ministers say 82% taken on by private firms move into apprenticeships, more learning or jobs.

But the Conservatives said more needed to be done for job creation and entrepreneurship on a wider scale.

Jobs Growth Wales aims to create 4,000 temporary job opportunities a year but latest figures show this target has already been beaten a year early.

It covers the cost of a minimum wage salary and the employer's National Insurance contribution.

Just under 10,000 of those 13,000 jobs have been filled but ministers say the gap is because the recruitment process is still ongoing.

Ministers added the programme was "clearly reaping huge rewards" and £12.5m is to be spent in offering 4,000 more temporary jobs from 2015.

Jobs Growth Wales

  • Total number of job opportunities created 13,223
  • Total number of job opportunities filled/taken up 9,978
  • Of these 5,116 completed a six month opportunity, 2,678 are still on the scheme and 2,184 had left it early.
  • Self-employment - young entrepreneurs' new businesses under bursary 270
  • Source: Welsh Government Statistics and Research, to 10 May 2014

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who is publishing the latest Programme for Government report, which tracks performance on key issues such as employment, health, education and communities, said the figures were "outstanding".

Hydratech-Evans Coolants, who make specialist fluids and antifreezes in Swansea, have taken on 10 young people over the last two years - six have become apprentices, two have gone onto higher education and another two are still with the programme.

Most had no skills when they arrived and the company said it had helped them with affordable recruitment and also build a sense of loyalty to the firm.

Steve Hickson, managing director said it had been "invaluable".

He added: "We've been able to give local youngsters access to credible work experience where they have had a chance to learn, develop new skills and earn a wage."

William Graham AM, Conservative Shadow Minister for Business, said: "While Jobs Growth Wales has created opportunities for some young people, it is disappointing that Labour ministers have failed to support job creation and entrepreneurship more generally by cutting business rates and red tape which are barriers to business start-ups.

"We need to start promoting entrepreneurship as a rewarding career in schools and empower people to make that a reality, making their own money, creating jobs and making Wales a more prosperous nation."

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