Welsh Government
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Finance Minister welcomes EU Commissioner to Wales

Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM and EU Commissioner László Andor have today visited projects backed by the European Social Fund to see how they are benefiting thousands of people and businesses in Wales.

During a visit to the £5m PUPIL project (Pupils Understanding Problems In their Locality), the Finance Minister announced a further £600,000 of EU funds for the project to support more young people.

Led by Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association, the project has already helped over 5,800 vulnerable or disadvantaged young people learn new skills, gain confidence and prepare for a better future.

Finance Minister said:

"I am delighted to welcome Commissioner Andor to Wales to showcase how we have successfully invested the European Social Fund (ESF). The Fund is making a key difference to people’s lives and career prospects by helping them to gain new skills and enter sustainable employment."

The Commissioner also visited GE Aviation and Admiral Group to meet apprentices learning their skills through the Welsh Government’s flagship Modern Apprenticeships, Skills Growth Wales and Jobs Growth Wales programmes, all backed with ESF funds.

EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, said:

"My visits to the ESF-backed projects today have confirmed my view that the Welsh authorities are efficiently managing and implementing ESF funding. The European Commission often cites ESF projects implemented in Wales as an example of good practice for others to follow. I am convinced that the Welsh authorities and project promoters will continue to make the best use of ESF funding in the years ahead."

A recent independent survey found that almost three-quarters of respondents had gained a qualification as a result of ESF training. Almost two thirds of previously unemployed individuals and 30% of those previously economically inactive were in employment within 12 months of completing their ESF training.

In addition, unemployed ESF participants, compared with the wider population, were about 20% more likely to find a job than unemployed individuals who had not undertaken ESF training.

Finance Minister said:

"The European Social Fund under the current EU programmes across Wales has already supported 162,600 individuals to gain qualifications, some 54,300 helped into work and 38,450 into further learning. These achievements will rise as EU projects continue to deliver and as the new £2bn EU programmes 2014–2020 supporting jobs and growth soon get underway."

Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association Chief Executive Joanna Fashan said:

"It has been an honour to welcome the Commissioner and Minister to Newbridge and let them witness first hand the impact that ESF funds have had on young people in Wales. The announcement of further funds will allow us to continue our work and help more young people develop their skills and confidence."

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