Deputy Minister Visits EU-Backed Skills Initiatives In South Wales

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 08:31 GMT Jump to Comments

Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies AM, today heard first hand how two EU-backed initiatives are helping out of work individuals to gain new skills and access work.

The Deputy Minister visited the YMCA in Cardiff and Groundwork in Bridgend where two initiatives are underway as part of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action’s (WCVA) Gateway and Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) programmes.

The programmes are backed with over £28m from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government and are aimed at tackling the barriers people face when trying to access training and employment. To date, they have supported a range of projects, helping thousands of people to gain skills and work.

Through the WCVA programmes, Groundwork delivers three projects which support disadvantaged young people with activities that address emotional immaturity and behavioural problems, raise self-esteem and help them to gain qualifications and employability skills. They are also providing outdoor ‘green’ work opportunities in conservation, landscaping and horticulture that are providing pathways to permanent employment.

The Gateway programme is also funding the YMCA’s Design for Life initiative, targeting support for some of the most vulnerable people in Cardiff. The project is helping homeless people, like Dave Morris, who are now resident at the YMCA with life and employability skills. Dave is an example of how the support is changing lives and helping people into employment from extremely difficult circumstances.

The Deputy Minister said:

“Improving the skills and employment prospects for thousands of out-of-work people will bring increased prosperity not only for those individuals, but for their families and communities also.

“I am delighted that we have been able to invest EU funds to back these initiatives, particularly during these challenging times when it is more important than ever to support economically inactive and long-term unemployed individuals to enter the workforce.”

WCVA Chief Executive Graham Benfield added:

“Funding from the Gateway and ILM projects is allowing around 300 organisations across every part of Wales provide opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable local people.

“There’s no doubt that these opportunities have had a life-changing impact on many people’s lives.”

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