'Back-to-work' fund for Wales

New £43m European fund will offer money to organisations that help the long-term unemployed

Community organisations in Wales are being invited to bid for almost £43m of European funding to help "economically inactive" people into work.

The Gateway fund, worth £29.4m over three years, will be open to organisations that work with hard-to-reach groups such as the long-term unemployed, lone parents or disabled people.

A £13.4m Intermediate Labour Market fund will be open to social enterprises in north Wales that are prepared to offer supported work placements that help people back into employment.

Phil Fiander, director of enterprise and regeneration at the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action, which will administer the funds, said the aim was not to fund specific employment training but to focus on jobs, training or volunteering that would put organisations' client groups "on a journey" towards long-term paid work.

"It is about starting the process of engaging with the people farthest from the labour market," he said. "Although the desired outcomes will be defined in the contracts, it will be for the organisations that are tendering to design the activities that best suit their client groups.

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