A £45m EU-backed investment to raise skills and improve career prospects across South Wales has been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford.
EU funds of £29m have given the green light for a range of initiatives to get underway, including support for young people at risk of dropping out of education or training, workplace learning for employees of companies and leadership training for business owners and managers.
The four new initiatives are:
- £19m Upskilling@Work scheme, backed with £10.8m from the European Social Fund (ESF), will provide work-based training programmes to develop the skills and careers of over 8,000 employees in companies across South East Wales, led by Coleg Y Cymoedd and Coleg Gwent;
- £16.8m Skills for Industry II, backed by £11.8m ESF, will provide over 8,800 work-based learning opportunities to drive productivity in companies across South West Wales, led by Gower College Swansea;
- £9.2m Inspire2Achieve, backed with £4.2m ESF, to help 3,900 young people who are at risk of disengaging and falling out of education and training in Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan, led by Newport City Council.
- £4m Leading Business Growth (East Wales), backed with £2.4m ESF, to help over 300 business owners and managers gain new leadership and management skills, led by Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Cabinet Secretary Mark Drakeford said:
“People are our greatest asset and investing vital EU funds so that people across Wales are equipped with the skills to fulfil their potential is a key ambition of the Welsh Government. As a pro-European Government this is another positive example of the benefits of UK membership of the EU.”
Earlier this week, EU funds of £25m million were also announced for Bangor University’s KESS II (Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships) initiative which will be delivered in partnership with seven other Welsh universities, bringing together businesses, academics and post-graduate students to work on research projects.
Cabinet Secretary Mark Drakeford added:
“Between 2014-2020 Wales will benefit from some £800m EU funds to help people gain skills and employment opportunities, while £1bn is supporting businesses to grow, pioneering new research and innovation, and driving key infrastructure developments.
“Overall, including our rural programmes and direct payments to farm businesses, Wales benefits from around £500m of EU investment in the Welsh economy and labour market each year.“