£17m EU-backed project to support Welsh job-seekers announced at St David’s Day reception in Brussels

Welsh Government Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, has announced a £10 million EU investment for a £17 million initiative to help people affected by redundancy back into work.

The announcement of the new ReAct 3 programme, delivered by the Welsh Government, was made during the Minister’s address to an audience of senior EU representatives, members of the European Parliament and pan-European businesses at a reception in Brussels to mark St David’s Day.

The EU investment will help support up to 8,000 people affected by or facing redundancy in West Wales and the Valleys over the next three years – adding value to the service offered by Job Centre Plus and Careers Wales. The EU funding is part of a wider package of support, including Welsh Government and private sector funding, which will enable the ReAct programme to continue to be available across Wales.

Support will be targeted at people who are prevented from securing alternative employment through a lack of skills required by recruiting employers, and will fund the training cost of acquiring those skills as well as providing assistance towards travel, childcare and accommodation.

This new ReAct 3 programme builds on the success of the previous ReAct programme. Over 27,000 job-seekers and almost 2,000 employers between 2007 and 2014 were supported through the programme, resulting in 20,000 people achieving new qualifications and over 12,000 regaining employment.

Welsh Government Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:

“EU funds continue to play a vital role in strengthening the Welsh economy and improving the prospects of the labour market.

“During the next six years Wales will benefit from nearly £2 billion of EU funds that will be specifically targeted at creating jobs, supporting business and providing opportunities for people to develop new skills and careers.

“I’m delighted that EU funds will support the next phase of the highly successful ReAct programme, ensuring that people will receive maximum support to develop their skills and re-enter employment as quickly as possible.’

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, added:

“The ReAct programme has already helped thousands of job-seekers and employers in Wales and I’m delighted that we will be able to support even more.

“ReAct has a two pronged approach to addressing unemployment. It supports employers to take on people who have been made redundant and provides funds to support those looking for work after losing their job.

“This practical approach is another example of our commitment to improving and supporting the Welsh economy.”

During her visit to Brussels, the Finance Minister will meet with senior representatives of the European Commission and attend a business lunch hosted by Swansea University to mark the progress of the new Swansea Bay innovation campus.

The University’s new Science and Innovation campus is being developed with extensive EU support including a financial package of £60 million through the European Investment Bank and £40 million in European Structural Funds, on top of a direct Welsh Government investment of £15 million.

When fully developed, the new campus will generate around £3 billion of economic impact over a 10-year period.