Wales’ leading training provider welcomes its Economy Minister to meet learners improving their lives through the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme

Wales’ leading training provider and its Economy Minister have joined together for a first person update on delivery of the Jobs Growth Wales+ (JGW+) programme, part of the Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee scheme during a special event in Cardiff.

ACT welcomed Vaughan Gething MS to its Hadfield Road Skills Academy to meet with staff and, most importantly, hear from the young people who continue to benefit from JGW+ since it launched just over a year ago.

First introduced in November 2021, the Young Person’s Guarantee provides under 25s in Wales with the offer of support to gain a place in education or training, find a job or become self-employed, and has supported more than 11,000 young people to find jobs since.

ACT has been a key driver in achieving this as the leading provider of the JGW+ programme in Wales – a fully-funded scheme helping 16-19 year olds develop the skills, qualifications, and experience they need to progress onto an Apprenticeship, set up their own business, or land their dream job.

As such staff and learners at ACT joined representatives from Careers Wales and partner organisations – in the opportunity to meet with Mr Gething and feedback on their experiences of delivering and benefitting from the programme first-hand.

Leon Patnett, Head of Youth Engagement & Training at ACT, said: “We are delighted to organise and host this event, bringing our valued partners together, giving them the opportunity to experience our JGW+ provision first-hand and meet our fantastic staff and learners.”

“The JGW+ programme really does offer a valuable opportunity for our young people, some of who are facing significant challenges, to grow and develop, preparing them for their next steps in life. As we head into year two of the programme, we look forward to supporting many more young people in achieving their goals.”

The Young Person’s Guarantee brings together a range of programmes and initiatives for young people that aim to enhance employability, enterprise, and skills provision to provide the right support, at the right time, for the diverse needs of young people across Wales.

The JGW+ programme performs a key role in this effort by providing young people aged 16-19 with training focused in three different areas – Engagement, for those beginning to think about a career, Advancement for those with an idea of where they’d like to be and Employment, for those looking to get into work asap – all of which is fully funded.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, said following his meeting with those completing the programme at ACT: “Through our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government is fully committed to investing in the lives of young people who need a helping hand to achieve their full potential.

“It is inspiring to hear how young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, are accessing support such as Jobs Growth Wales+ and with the help of our partners such as ACT and Careers Wales, are now looking positively towards their futures.”

“Through our National Conversation we will continue to engage and listen to young people as we shape the support we provide.,” he added.

Eighteen-year-old Jess Stiff is currently a JGW+ Advancement Level 1 Animal Care learner. She said of the programme: “I didn’t have a clue what to do when I left school and left and worked in retail and as a housekeeper but hated them both. Then I heard about ACT and Jobs Growth Wales+, the fact that I could work and learn at the same time.

“I’m hopefully going to get a placement at a riding school which I am really looking forward to and I absolutely enjoy everything about what I’m doing now. It’s great.”

Nina De-Freitas left school two years ago and didn’t have a clue what to do next. Now 18 and having studied animal care with ACT for the past two years. Thanks to the programme now has a clear career path and starts a course at Pencoed College studying Animal Care Level 3 in September.

Nina said: “School wasn’t for me, I hated it, so it was great when I found ACT. The tutors treat you like an adult and the people I learn with are fab too.”

Long term, the Young Person’s Guarantee is designed to ensure 90% of 16 to 24-year-olds are in education, employment, or training (EET) by 2050, which is one of the Welsh Government’s National Milestones for improving the well-being of the people of Wales.

As part of this aim, JGW+ is open to anyone living in Wales aged 16-19 years old and not in full-time education, employment, or training as a flexible programme designed around the individual learner’s needs.

ACT offers comprehensive support to learners, including a weekly training allowance of up to £60, a daily meal allowance, and assistance with travel expenses. In addition, learners receive support in finding work, route-specific qualifications, and other resources to help them succeed.

Richard Spear, Managing Director at ACT, said: “It was fantastic to welcome the Economy Minister and other partners to our Hadfield Road centre to see the JGW+ programme in action. ACT’s purpose is to improve lives through learning, and that’s what JGW+ is all about.

“We are so lucky at ACT to have an amazing team who are dedicated to supporting the individual needs of our learners and inspiring them to have a great future. With fantastic support from the Welsh Government and other partners, we have the privilege of making a hugely positive difference to the lives of thousands of young adults and making a substantial contribution to Wales’ Young Person’s Guarantee.”