Wales politics

Flagship Jobs Growth Wales scheme's funding is approved

Dave Povah
Image caption Ministers say the scheme is giving thousands of young people employment opportunities

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.

'Absurd'

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."

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