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Julie James, is pleased to announce that a project to improve the skills and job prospects of young people is being extended into East Wales thanks to an additional £1million EU funding boost.

First published:
18 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The investment will support the expansion of the Active Inclusion Fund (AIF) to provide skills programmes and paid work placements to out-of-work 16-24 year olds. It will benefit around 1,500 people in Flintshire, Wrexham, Powys, Monmouthshire, Newport, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan over the next three years. The additional £1 million brings the total investment to £4.6million, including £2million of targeted Welsh Government match funding.

The AIF, which was originally launched last May, is managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and supports organisations to provide skills programmes and transitional employment opportunities in local areas. 

Active Inclusion aims to help improve the employment prospects of people who are long-term unemployed, as well as people facing barriers to employment through disabilities, low skills, or substance misuse problems.

This new investment into the AIF specifically focusses on young people and aims to build on and improve individual’s skills and employability prospects through targeted support and up to 26 weeks of paid employment opportunities.

It is being targeted at helping younger people aged 16-24 years old who are not in education, employment or training and who sit within one or more of the following identified groups:

  • Lone parents;
  • Those with work limiting health conditions (including substances misuse issues);
  • Ex-offenders;
  • Those with a disability;
  • Those who identify themselves as being from a BME background.

Through tailored support to help participants overcome a range of barriers to employment, Active Inclusion (Youth) will help those involved to achieve full-time sustainable employment by supporting them to progress to further education and/or training and gain qualifications and skills that will enhance their employability prospects. 

Such barriers may include work limiting health conditions, discrimination, social and digital exclusion, mental health issues, disabilities, welfare dependency, a lack of confidence, poor literacy skills or a lack of experience of a work environment.

The Skills and Science Minister announced the new funding ahead of a visit to the NEC in Birmingham on 18 November to attend the UK’s largest Skills Show, where a record number of Welsh entrants are taking part. 

Julie James said: 

“Wales currently benefits from some £500 million of EU funds annually to support jobs and growth, which includes investments to help increase skills and employment opportunities for thousands of vulnerable people across Wales.

 "Ensuring Wales has the right skills to make the most of existing and future employment opportunities is a key priority of this government and we are committed to helping those in most need to reach their full potential. 

 “This additional funding will make an important contribution to young people’s lives and help those who have so far been locked out of the jobs market to gain essential skills and access training and employment opportunities, helping to make Wales a fairer, more prosperous and inclusive society.”

Phil Fiander, WCVA’s director of operations, added: 

“Almost 1,500 young people will benefit from the expansion of the Active Inclusion Fund, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds who need this type of support to turn their lives around.

“This funding will create community-based opportunities for 16 to 24-year-olds to improve their skills and take part in paid work placements that will suit a wide range of interests, talents and abilities.”