Flagship Jobs Growth Wales scheme's funding is approved
EU funding for the Welsh government's flagship youth employment scheme - Jobs Growth Wales (JGW) - has been agreed, ministers have announced.
The scheme was temporarily closed last month, while officials awaited EU approval for a new version of JGW.
On Wednesday, ministers said the scheme would receive £25m from the European Social Fund over the next three years.
JGW gives unemployed 16 to 24 year-olds six month job opportunities. £17.5m will be spent on the scheme this year.
When JGW was launched in 2012 it received total average funding of around £25m a year for three years.
Nearly 15,000 young people have been given placements, out of around 49,000 applicants.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said the scheme was a "huge success" that had "given thousands of young people across the whole of Wales the support they need to get their first foot on the ladder of a new career".
But the Liberal Democrats said they were "utterly baffled" by the decision to continue funding JGW, when a review for Welsh ministers had suggested 73% most of those taking up placements did not need them.
Welsh Lib Dem economy spokeswoman Eluned Parrott said: "The fact that the Welsh Labour government has renewed this scheme seemingly without making any changes is nothing short of absurd."
Conservative shadow business minister William Graham said: "Worries over continued reliance on public money for simple six-month placements must now be urgently addressed."
Plaid Cymru economy spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth added: "Plaid Cymru has voiced our concerns about Jobs Growth Wales after we found that fewer than half of those enrolled have found employment, and fewer than a third were employed by the same employer that took them on under the Jobs Growth Wales scheme."