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Shadow Employment Minister Nick Thomas-Symonds MP today attended an event in Newport to mark the inaugural national Employability Day. The event, at the offices of local employment support provider People Plus, included a jobs fair, where local employers were offering around 200 job vacancies.
Employability Day is an opportunity for the employment support sector to open its doors across the UK to show key stakeholders, such as local networks, agencies and business, what employment support does in their community.
The Torfaen MP talked to People Plus staff from across Gwent and heard from clients that they have supported to successfully launch their own business on the programme. He also saw the new web-based training platform Learning Plus which is one of the ways in which they are helping jobseekers in Wales gain skills and qualifications which are relevant to local businesses, equipping them for industries as wide-ranging as food production, manufacturing, hospitality and care.
People Plus provide targeted support to help long-term unemployed people in the region into employment. They have helped 4,332 people in Wales to find work since the start of the Work Programme and in the last three months the local team have helped 171 people into jobs.
They work with people who face complex and multiple barriers to employment. This can be substantial health barriers, particularly mental health issues including agoraphobia, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “As Shadow Employment Minster it was great to attend the Employability Day event and to hear about the excellent work of employment support providers in Gwent. I was very impressed by the staff that I met and found them to be extremely knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about helping people into work.
“Employability Day is an opportunity to recognise the vital work going on in Wales to support people who are unemployed and help them to into employment. As a result of the hard work of providers like People Plus and the excellent Jobs Growth Wales programme the employment rate has been rising faster in Wales than anywhere else.”
Speaking in Parliament earlier this week, the Torfaen MP highlighted the Welsh Government’s success in tackling youth unemployment and suggested that the UK Government could learn from their work. He said, “Since 2012, Jobs Growth Wales has helped 15,000 people into meaningful employment. Given that youth unemployment is falling faster in Wales than in the UK as a whole, does the Minister agree that the UK Government could learn from the Welsh Labour Government in this regard?”