The Welsh Government's Young Person’s Guarantee— providing everyone under 25 with the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment— has been launched today by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.
The "ambitious" programme will "help ensure there is no lost generation" in Cymru following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Young Person’s Guarantee is a key commitment in the Welsh Government’s five year Programme for Government.
The "comprehensive package" brings together programmes designed to provide the right support at the right time for the diverse needs of young people across Cymru. This includes new user friendly services to help young people find opportunities more easily.
Phase one of the Guarantee provides young people aged 16 to 24 in Cymru with access to:
one simple route to access the guarantee via Working Wales - support and advice from advisers will be provided in multiple forms, including virtually, on the high street, and through improved outreach facilities across Wales;
self-employment advice and support available through Big Ideas Wales;
traineeships, that provide work experience and training;
training and wage incentives via the ReAct programme;
a place on one of the Welsh Government’s outreach Community Employability programmes;
help to find an apprenticeship;
a new course search platform, for those wanting to enter further education or higher education, to make it easier to find their choice;
a referral to one of the programmes funded by other partners, such as DWP and Local Authorities.
Working Wales has today become the single gateway for every 16 to 24 year old in Cymru to access the Guarantee. This will build on its already strong and successful model of delivering careers guidance and signposting support.
Working Wales is also trialling a new Job Matching service, to assist young people with securing employment and to help employers fill vacancies.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is determined that there will be no lost generation in Wales as a result of the pandemic.
“Our young people hold the key to Wales’ future success – which is why I’m delighted to officially launch our Young Person’s Guarantee today. We are putting in place an ambitious programme designed to provide everyone under 25 in Wales with the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment.
“This is the bold action we must take to help young people get the best possible start. We want to give young people the support they need for a brighter future when leaving school, college, university, if they are unemployed or even facing redundancy.
“Whatever the uncertainties we face, we can be sure of one thing - failing to step up to support young people today, guarantees economic failure tomorrow."
The guarantee is supported by "wide ranging provision" which "ensures young people can take up effective support that works for them". In this year the Welsh Government has invested:
£390m in Sixth Forms and Further Education, providing thousands of young people with a range of academic and vocational courses, £16.4m in Educational Maintenance Allowances, £5m for extra places and an additional £33m to support young people in education to recover from the impact of the pandemic;
£152m in apprenticeships, including an £18.7m in employer incentive to recruit and support young people. Whilst this is an all age programme, around 39% of all apprentices starting in 2019/20 were under the age of 25;
Around £1.22bn in Student support for 2021-22. In 2019/20, around 60% of Welsh Higher Education students were aged 16 to 24, meaning our innovative package of maintenance grants and loans enable students, regardless of age, or household or family income, to access higher education. In the past year, Ministers have also provided £122m of additional funding to build capacity and to enable our universities to increase their hardship funding and support services to students affected by the pandemic;
£70m per annum to help people into work through a range of employability programmes including ReAct, Traineeships and Community Employability Programmes.
The Welsh Government's next steps in the development of the guarantee will include:
Regional Skills Partnerships will commence engagement events to shape Guarantee provision within their area;
Continuing to listen to our young people through a series of focus groups between now and December, to understand how they view the support and offer available; what they want to see; and to tell us about the barriers they face.