Wales politics

Jobs opportunity for 12,000 unemployed young in Wales

Young people can apply for work through a £75m Growth Wales project to create 12,000 temporary jobs.

Unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds will be offered six months being paid for at least 25 hours per week.

The Welsh government will cover the cost of a minimum wage salary and the employer's National Insurance contribution.

It said it would "encourage and support" employers to make the jobs permanent after six months.

Ministers said a variety of large and small private sector companies from across Wales were interested in taking part following a successful pilot.

They say the scheme will give young people "good quality work experience" to help them into permanent jobs or apprenticeships.

Seven positions were advertised on the programme's website on the eve of its launch, with more to be added during the year.

Specific targeting

Businesses taking part will have to show the jobs being created are new ones.

Most of the jobs will be with private companies, although some will be with voluntary groups and in the public sector.

The Welsh government will provide £25m a year for the next three years to fund the scheme, with specific targeting of graduates, micro-businesses and green jobs.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the policy would help those who had suffered most as a result of the recession and allow businesses to expand.

With more than a fifth of 18-24-year-olds out of work, he said youth unemployment had become a big political issue.

Mr Jones said: "It is to create 4,000 jobs a year for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to be paid at least the minimum wage 25 hours a week and for at least six months.

"And of course we will look to ensure that there is a job at the end of it as well.

"The private companies who will be involved in the scheme have had to show that they would be creating at the end of that six month period a job that otherwise wouldn't have been created."

He added: "That much is important of course to ensure that the scheme adds to what's already happening.

"We know that with youth unemployment it has become a very large problem. Youth unemployment levels are higher than for the population as a whole and we want to give our young people a chance.

"The UK government scheme is a training scheme it's not aimed at creating new jobs. Our scheme is designed to ensure that there are actually jobs at the end of the scheme for young people."

The programme is being launched at Scarlet Communications in Carmarthen, which provides call centre services.

The company has been involved in the Welsh government's pilot of the project, with young people working in insurance advice and sales.

"Not only have we been able to offer valuable experience to some enthusiastic and talented young people but it has also given us the chance to expand our business into new areas," said managing director Jason Rosser.

"As a result of the programme we hope to be able to create new permanent posts and offer full time work."

The Conservatives said the policy must be monitored.

Tory enterprise spokesman Nick Ramsay said: "We remain disappointed that Labour continues to dismiss the abolition of business rates for small businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000.

"This Welsh Conservative policy would generate immediate support for our small and medium sized enterprises and allow them to instantly reinvest the money saved in development and jobs."

On Monday the UK government launched its own initiative.

The £1bn Youth Contract covers a series schemes, including subsidies of more than £2,000 to employers who take on young unemployed workers. Work experience places will also be offered.

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