A new flagship Welsh Government programme, which will provide personalised support to people who are not currently in education, training or employment to find and stay in work has been launched today by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.
As the Welsh labour market recovers from the initial shock of Brexit and the pandemic – Wales is experiencing a near-record low rate of unemployment – some people in Wales still face difficulties and barriers to securing work.
And the current social and economic situation means some people, who were already experiencing barriers to employment are now at an even greater disadvantage.
To help improve the employment outcomes for these people and to tackle rising economic inactivity rates, the Welsh Government is investing in a new approach, which puts power back into the hands of people so they can find the right support via the new ReAct+ programme.
ReAct+ builds on the success of the current ReAct programme and will help to empower people seeking work in Wales with a direct application process, financial support and free careers advice. It will ensure flexible training is available alongside bespoke help to overcome barriers to securing sustained employment.
ReAct+ will provide people with a clear pathway from the Working Wales employability service into sustainable work and help people, particularly those from vulnerable groups, to take advantage of job opportunities. The launch of a new online application process will provide access to financial support and the bespoke support system.
Launching the new programme during a visit to a Working Wales centre in Newport, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“We have a near-record low rate of unemployment in Wales, but we are not complacent. We want to do more to reduce the number of unemployed adults even further, eliminate the gap in economic inactivity, and help everyone, including those people who currently feel a long way from the labour market, to plan and build a successful future here in Wales.
“Empowering people to access tailored personalised budgets linked to skills development and the removal of other barriers to employment is really important if we are to achieve this goal.
“We recognise that barriers to employment can be diverse and varied. React+ will enable people to tailor their employment support and it will be as unique as the people we want to help into work. It will help them with the hurdles they need to overcome – whether that be help with childcare cost, travel costs, mentoring or skills support.
“By learning from and building on the success of previous programmes, we expect ReAct+ to help support thousands more people across Wales into work. It forms a key element of our plan for employability and skills, and will help us deliver on our ambitious Young Person’s Guarantee – which is designed to ensure no young person will be left behind as a result of the pandemic.
“We have made a commitment to changing people’s lives for the better by creating a fairer and more equal Wales. ReAct+ will help us to do that.”
It is one of the commitments in the Welsh Government’s Employability and Skills Plan, which was launched earlier this year and which focuses on improving labour market outcomes for disabled people, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities, women, and people with low skills.
Support will include:
Up to £1,500 to support training
Up to £4,500 to help with childcare or other care costs
£300 to help with travel costs to make training possible;
Personal development support of £500 to help remove barriers to work – including mentoring support to increase personal confidence and resilience.
Access to wage subsidies to help people gain a job and subsidies to training when you’re in a job.
Employers taking part in ReAct+ will receive help towards the first year’s wages of new employees, as well as funding for job-related training.
The new programme is an important part of the Welsh Government’s ambitious Young Person’s Guarantee, which brings together a wide range of programmes designed to provide the right support for young people across Wales to help them plan and build a successful future.
The Young Person’s Guarantee promises everyone under 25 with the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment in a bid to protect a generation from the impacts of lost learning and delayed labour market entry due to the pandemic, and to help make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future.
Nikki Lawrence, chief executive of the Working Wales service, which is delivered by Careers Wales, said:
“As the entry point for individuals to access the ReAct+ programme, Working Wales will play a key part in helping to support those who are unemployed or have been made redundant, enabling progression into sustainable employment.
“Our tailored, impartial and personalised careers guidance and coaching service can support the people of Wales and particularly those from vulnerable groups or those who face barriers to employment.
“Our expert careers advisers and coaches want to help people find and secure the right job opportunities for them.
“We look forward to playing our part in supporting Wales’ economic recovery.”
For support to get you into work, call 0800 028 4844 or search Working Wales ReAct+ to speak to a Working Wales adviser.