The UK government is absolutely committed to making a difference to the life chances of young people, Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones will say today as youth employment issues come under the spotlight at the latest Wales Office Jobs Summit.
The event, which will be held at the Halliwell Centre at Trinity St David in Carmarthenshire, is the third in a series of regional seminars on youth unemployment to be hosted by the Secretary of State.
An audience from government, local government, business bodies, local firms and employability organisations will engage in discussions about how to offer more work experience, internships and apprenticeship opportunities to young people.
They will also hear from Coleg Sir Gar students and other young people who will relay their own positive experiences of apprenticeships and finding employment in the west Wales area.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
“I wanted to hold the third Wales Office Jobs Summit in rural west Wales to explore the different labour market challenges facing young people across the country. Local businesses around the country are vital in tackling the issue of youth unemployment, and I want to make sure they take advantage of all the support government is offering them.
“We know that future prospects rely on a good start, one that builds skills, develops self-motivation and results in self-confidence. That is why this government is firmly committed to working with the Welsh Government, to ensure that young people have the opportunity to engage in the labour market in order to advance their career prospects, reduce the risk of long term unemployment and welfare dependency, and encourage social mobility and economic growth.”
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said:
“Building a resilient economy and helping people into long-term employment continue to be our main priorities. The latest labour market stats show we are making good progress - unemployment in Wales is now lower than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while youth unemployment is falling faster in Wales than it is in the rest of the UK.
“Our Apprenticeship pathway and flagship Jobs Growth Wales programme – which has created over 11,000 job opportunities to date – have certainly played a key role in this. We know work experience, apprenticeships and internships are key to giving young people that all important first-step on the job ladder.
“We will continue to work with all our partners, including the UK government and DWP through the recently established joint working group on Access to Employment, to simplify access to our respective programmes and to ensure young people and adults get the support they deserve to get ahead in the workplace.”
Jobs Summit West Wales will also feature contributions from Jobcentre Plus on how to help young people get the experience essential to gaining employment.
Martin Brown, Work Services Director for Jobcentre Plus in Wales, said:
“Every day I see some fantastic young people in Jobcentres right across Wales, who would be real assets to businesses, but they need support from employers to take that first step. We can help with that.
“Our work experience scheme can give young people the time on-the-job they’re so often missing on their CVs, while giving them a chance to show potential employers exactly what they can do. And as well as helping the next generation get a foot on the employment ladder, there’s extra incentive for employers with £2,275 available to those who give a job to one of our young people.”
Ahead of the Summit, the Secretary of State for Wales will visit a Carmarthenshire car dealership currently benefitting from the Youth Contract scheme.
Cawdor Cars were the first employer locally to sign up to the Jobcentre Plus’s Work Experience Scheme, giving local young people opportunities to develop skills and experience of the workplace.
The Ministers will meet with Keith Davies, General Service Manager at Cawdor Cars, and meet with young people who have found permanent employment with the company as a result of the Work Experience Scheme.
The Jobs Summit is being held in the week that will see jobseekers in Shotton, north Wales, start to claim the Government’s new Universal Credit benefit. The programme rolls six working-age benefits into one single payment, and is a vital reform to the welfare state that rewards work.
Wales Office Minister with portfolio responsibility for welfare reform, Stephen Crabb MP said:
“Welfare reform is key to unlocking the potential of those communities in Wales currently blighted by worklessness and poverty. The changes are a once in a generation opportunity to restore incentives to work while ensuring that a strong welfare system can continue to provide protection to those in need.
“We are creating pathways back into employment for those who feel cut off from the workplace, and using new and innovative methods to show that people are always better off in work. Through our employment schemes, we are helping people to turn their lives around so they can secure a better future for themselves and their families.”
- The first Wales Office Job Summit to explore the different labour markets challenges facing young Welsh people was held in Newport in February 2013. A further seminar was held in Wrexham in July 2013.
Universal Credit started in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area and is now also up and running in Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Bath and Harrogate. Expansion to Shotton will mark the launch of the new benefit in Wales.
- The first claimants to Universal Credit are single jobseekers and the majority of claims will be made online. Universal Credit claims will respond in real time to changes in people’s circumstances, including when they take a job
- The Work Programme provides tailored support for claimants who need more help to undertake active and effective job-seeking. Participants receive support to overcome barriers that prevent them from finding and staying in work. It is delivered by DWP contracted service providers who have been given complete autonomy to decide how best to support participants while meeting their minimum service delivery standards.
- The Youth Contract is a package of support worth almost £1billion to help young unemployed people to prepare for work and find a job. Over three years from April 2012 the Youth Contract will provide nearly half a million new opportunities for young people and will enhance the get Britain working measures with an increased focus on young people.