(2) what assistance under which initiatives her Department provides to help young jobless people in Wales to return to employment.
The Government are taking decisive steps in Wales, and across the UK, to reduce unemployment and is committed to helping people return to work. It is for this reason that we have made available up to £5 billion, since November 2008, to offer substantial new support to jobseekers to help them find work at all stages of their claim.
We have quadrupled funding to the rapid response service which provides support to employees under threat of redundancy, helping to prevent them falling into long-term unemployment. We have also significantly increased funding to maintain and increase the existing support that is available to newly unemployed claimants through Jobcentre Plus and its external partners.
As well as help with jobsearch skills and access to basic skills training, newly unemployed people now have day-one access to Local Employment Partnership vacancies, help to meet the expenses involved in finding work and, for some, work trials.
In April 2009, we strengthened this support by introducing group jobsearch sessions specifically targeted at newly unemployed people, as well as specialist back to work support for newly unemployed professionals and executives, delivered through recruitment agencies. We also introduced a substantial package of support, the six month offer, for those people who were still claiming jobseeker’s allowance after six months. This offer provides unemployed people with access to recruitment subsidies, self-employment help, volunteering opportunities and work-focused training.
The Government have also targeted significant new resource on young people in recognition of the particular challenges young people face during a recession. Young people in Wales will now benefit from the young person’s guarantee, launched by the Prime Minister on 25 January. This guarantees an offer of a job, training or work experience to all 18-24 year olds who have been claiming JSA for six months.
The future jobs fund, part of the young person’s guarantee, has already created around 9700 jobs across Wales.
In addition, people who have been claiming jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months or longer have access to the new flexible new deal which offers tailored, flexible help and support, particularly for those people who experience repeated cycles of unemployment.
Furthermore, we are providing additional support for people who need extra help in the deprived areas in Wales through the City Strategy Pathfinders of Rhyl and Heads of the Valleys, two additional partnerships (Swansea Bay and Mon Menai), and Jobcentre Plus districts with deprived wards not covered by these specific initiatives. The Department for Work and Pensions is contributing approximately £12.4 million to these initiatives from its deprived areas fund (DAF) during 2009-11.