Two leading work-based learning providers will be helping to deliver the new Jobs Growth Wales+ programme for young people which has been launched by the Welsh Government.
The flexible programme, a key part of Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, offers a bespoke package of support to help 16-18 year olds develop their skills and work experience in line with employers’ needs to help them secure their first job.
ACT and ITEC Skills and Employment, both headquartered in Cardiff and members of the National Training Federation for Wales, have been awarded contracts to deliver the new programme alongside Pembrokeshire College, Coleg Cambria and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
To be eligible for Jobs Growth Wales+, young people must be aged between 16-18 years old, not in full-time education, employment or training (NEET), living in Wales and be assessed by Working Wales.
Working Wales then refers eligible young people to the programme which has three strands – engagement, advancement and employment – and offers a holistic approach to each learner’s journey.
The programme aims to equip young people with the skills, qualifications and experience needed to either progress to employment, learning at a higher level or an apprenticeship.
Both the engagement and advancement strands are designed to address barriers identified by the Working Wales and to support learners to develop the skills they need to progress.
This includes work placements, work trials, community projects, voluntary work, centre-based learning opportunities and completion of qualifications ranging from entry level to level two.
When a business employs a young person via Jobs Growth Wales+, the Welsh Government pays up to half the employment costs at the National Minimum Wage for the first six months.
Each job offered by an employer must be between 16 and 40 hours a week, for a minimum of six months and additional to existing workforce needs. The employer must also be committed to retaining the employee after six months.
Employers receive ongoing, tailored training support from a designated learning provider and free recruitment advice.
Leon Patnett, ACT’s head of youth engagement and training, said the company will be working with many partners and employers from a range of work sectors, to provide enrichment experiences and learning resources that broaden learners’ horizons.
ACT will be working with partners to deliver Jobs Growth Wales+ across Wales.
Leon Patnett said:
We are very excited to be delivering the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme which builds more of a holistic approach to developing young people based on their education, learning and wellbeing needs.
Our aim is to develop young people into healthy, confident individuals, ambitious, capable learners, enterprising, creative contributors and ethical, informed citizens.
We have looked at where the skills shortages and jobs are and tweaked what we do to ensure that learners have the best chance of employment.
Julie Dyer, ITEC Skills and Employment’s head of operations, said:
The company will be delivering the programme across South and Mid Wales, alongside sub-contractors, and working closely with employers.
It’s great to see how the new programme has been developed to support the evolving learning and employment landscape, especially with the challenges that Covid-19 has brought over the past two years.
We have been seeing an increasing number of 16 to 18 year olds with significant mental health and social anxiety issues. Whether a young person is occupationally focussed or suffering with mental health and anxiety issues, we can build a tailored programme of support that is individual to them.
Each strand of Jobs Growth Wales+ supports a learner’s literacy, numeracy and wellbeing. We will always look to identify the individual’s barriers and work together to overcome these.
We look forward to working alongside Welsh Government and the other contractors to help shape the future of the Young Person’s Guarantee and implement the new programme.
Employers who register an interest in Jobs Growth Wales+ at https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/jobs-growth-wales-plus will be contacted by an employment engagement adviser. Alternatively, they can call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 603000.
Jobs Growth Wales+ is part-funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.