£37m EU-backed investment to unlock potential of young people in Wales

2 Mar 2016 11:30 AM

A new £37m EU-backed investment to help improve the career and life prospects of young people who are at risk of disengaging and falling out of education and training in Wales will be announced by Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt today.

The Minister, announcing the schemes - which are backed with £25.5m from the European Social Fund - said EU Funds are vital for creating a skilled and inclusive labour market and driving economic prosperity in Wales.

On a visit to Brussels to celebrate St David’s Day Jane Hutt said:

“We are making excellent progress in delivering the Structural Funds 2014-2020 programmes with some £580m of EU funds invested so far, driving a total investment of £1.2bn, and providing vital support for businesses, communities and people across Wales.

“Today I am announcing a £37m EU-backed investment for two schemes, TRAC 11-24 and Inspire2Achieve, to help address early on educational, personal, confidence, health and social barriers affecting thousands of young people so that they can achieve a brighter and more prosperous future. It is another example of how Wales benefits from the UK’s membership of the EU and goes to show how important EU funds are to our nation.”

Since 2007, EU projects delivering in Wales have assisted more than 15,800 businesses and some 604,500 individuals, of which at least 204,100 have gained qualifications and more than 64,700 have been helped into work.  EU funds have also helped create more than 11,900 businesses and some 34,700 jobs.

Jane Hutt added:

“Wales is proud to be part of the European Union and any decision by the UK to exit would be bad for the UK and particularly devastating for Wales.”

TRAC 11-24, led by Denbighshire County Council, will support young people in North Wales. Inspire2Achieve, led by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, will support young people in the South East Wales Valleys. The schemes will be delivered in partnership with Local Authorities and Further Education colleges, and will work closely with schools to identify and support those at risk of becoming disengaged from education and training.

While in Brussels the Minister will also be meeting with Welsh MEPs and the European Commission. During her talks she will highlight the importance and the impact of the EU funds in Wales and issues relating to the steel and manufacturing industries in South Wales.