By Daniel Hunter

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, has welcomed latest figures showing that nearly 5,000 companies have taken on young people through Jobs Growth Wales since the EU-backed programme began in April 2012.

The figures show that in total 4,723 companies have taken part in Jobs Growth Wales, with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses by far the largest beneficiaries.

According to the figures, 3,203 microbusinesses, 1,412 SMEs and 104 larger companies (employing over 250 people) have taken on a young person through Jobs Growth Wales.

The Deputy Minister today hailed the figures as further evidence of the positive impact of Jobs Growth Wales on smaller businesses

“These figures are clear evidence of just how much our businesses value Jobs Growth Wales,” the Deputy Minister said.

“Microbusinesses and SMEs, in particular, may not always be in a position to take on extra staff but this is where a programme like Jobs Growth Wales really comes into its own — it’s a catalyst for growth.

“By reimbursing employers for a young person’s wages at national Minimum Wage for the first 6 months, Jobs Growth Wales provides the stability needed for expansion and drives productivity with the help of hard-working, talented young people.

“This is why over 11,000 young people in Wales have now been given the chance to demonstrate their full potential in meaningful, paid employment. It’s a win-win situation.”

In addition to the 4,723 companies that have taken part in Jobs Growth Wales, 317 young people started up their own companies by using the Jobs Growth Wales Young Entrepreneurs’ Bursary.

Figures from last month show that Jobs Growth Wales has now created over 14,500 job opportunities with over 11,300 young people filling these jobs.

The latest figures also show success rates for the programme continuing strongly, with 82% of young people working in the private sector progressing into employment or further learning after completing their Jobs Growth Wales six month opportunities.

Jobs Growth Wales is part funded by the European Social Fund