Young people get work kick-start from scooter projects
Fears that poor public transport links are stopping people taking up jobs in mid and west Wales have led to a new scooter loan initiative.
Preseli Rural Transport Association (PRTA) will loan scooters to people so they can access work.
Its fleet of nine scooters aims to combat the drain of young people leaving Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion to get work.
A similar project for young carers in Powys has been running for 18 months.
Emma Lewis is the co-ordinator of the scooter scheme for PRTA, a not-for-profit community enterprise which also runs Green Dragon bus services in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
She said: "The project aims to enable people to accept or keep a job where they have no other means of transport to access that job.
"This usually occurs where there is no public transport or where buses don't run early or late enough to get people to and from work and they can't afford to buy their own vehicle.
"We know that young people have had to turn down jobs because of poor transport links and had to leave the area in search of work."
Scooter users pay £35 a week towards the scheme and have up to 12 months to save for their own vehicle before the scooter is allocated to someone else in need of transport to access work.
"The advantage of using scooters is that all people aged 17 or over need is a provisional licence and to take a compulsory one-day training course before they can go on the road," said Ms Lewis.
"Another advantage is that many young people can't afford driving lessons so this project gives them an affordable access to transport."
The association will have nine scooters available for people in Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion once the project is fully up and running.
The scooters have cost £2,000 which has been paid for by European and Welsh government funding allocated specifically to rural areas.
Powys Carers Service came into possession of nine scooters two years ago after a "wheels to work" scheme in the county failed.
The service decided to give the scooters to nine of the 280 young adult carers aged between 16 and 25 years old in the county with the aim of improving their social life.
A Powys Young Carers spokesperson said: "There are a large number of young adult carers in Powys with no access to transport, often because the people who they care for cannot drive.
"These young people live complex lives and often don't have the same opportunities as other people of the same age.
"We decided to set up this project because it enables the carers to access friendships and provide social opportunities.
"Although we gifted the scooters to the nine carers, some of them have been returned so we have been able to pass them on to other carers."