Symud Ymlaen / Moving Forward is now officially up and running after being launched at GE Aviation, with Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates officially launching the scheme.
Symud Ymlaen or Moving Forward will offer paid work placements and mentoring support for 400 young people aged 16-18 for 25 hours per week for a period of six months paid at National Minimum Wage.
Funded by the BIG Fund using Dormant Account monies allocated to Wales and delivered by a partnership led by Llamau, Symud Ymlaen will help young people to develop the skills needed to find sustained employment.
Llamau will work in partnership with Local Authorities, youth offending teams, and other partners to broker work placements with employers. The vast majority of placements will be in the private sector, including with Social Enterprises.
Whilst similar to the Jobs Growth Wales programme, the focus of Symud Ymlaen is different – targeting the young people who are furthest to reach in the job market and who need additional support to bridge the transition into employment.
Care leavers and young people who offend are statistically more likely to not be in education, employment or training.
Figures from the Welsh Government show that the percentage of care leavers on their 19th birthday who are not in education, training or employment or are not in touch with their local authority is 48% (the percentage who are not in touch is 7%).
Young people who have been in the youth justice system find it far more challenging to progress into employment. Figures from the Audit Commission show that Young people are 2.6 times more likely to be NEET for six months or more after being supervised by a Youth Offending Team.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said:
"Every young person, no matter what their background, deserves the chance to succeed.
"Sadly, there are still too many young people in Wales who simply haven't had that chance.
"Time and again, evidence shows us that young people in care or leaving care and young people who offend can be the hardest groups to reach in the labour market. But this does not mean they are beyond reach.
"Symud Ymlaen will build on the success we have had with programmes like Jobs Growth Wales and offer these young people meaningful, paid work placements that equip them with the skills they need to find employment.
"Put simply, Symud Ymlaen could be the opportunity that turns a young person's life around."
Frances Beecher, Chief Executive of Llamau, lead charity for the project, said "We were delighted to be given the opportunity to lead this innovative project and to demonstrate just what can be achieved by the most vulnerable young people, given time and the right support. The young people we work have the same aspirations and dreams as other young people, but they have not had the opportunities to gain the skills to achieve those ambitions. Symud Ymlaen / Moving Forward brings together intensive and specialist training and support, coupled with mentoring and a clear route to employment and we are confident that we will demonstrate both the effectiveness of this intervention, but also, the benefit these young people can bring to the workplace and their communities.