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Conservatives pledge jobs scheme for all ages

The Conservative scheme would be open to people of all ages Photo: PA, Ian Nicholson

Welsh Conservatives say they will replace Labour's flagship scheme with one that's open to all ages.

Currently Jobs Growth Wales is aimed at 16 to 24 year olds. Under the Conservative proposals it would be extended to people of any age.

The proposal would replace the scheme with a new programme called 'Stronger Futures Cymru' which would also accept entrants from the UK Government's Work Programme.

Placements would also be extended from six to 12 months.

This is the first big economic policy announcement from the Welsh Conservatives before next May's Assembly Election.

It's also an audacious attempt to seize political ground from Labour by claiming to be able to improve the policy Carwyn Jones' government is most proud of and which has been praised by successive UK Labour leaders.

Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies said:

Andrew RT Davies will launch the policy which directly tackles Labour Credit: ITV News

Labour's age cap on job placement offers nothing to the many thousands of over 25s that want to get on and build a career for themselves.

This discriminatory practice not only sells hardworking people short, it's contributing to the acute skills shortage which is holding the Welsh economy back.

A Welsh Conservative Government would extend work based learning opportunities to people of all ages in Wales, whilst placing greater value on vocational qualifications which have been neglected under Labour.

We will work with schools, colleges and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeship schemes and our Journeys to Work programme will provide a sustainable, progressive path into the workplace.

– Andrew RT Davies AM, Welsh Conservative leader

And Shadow Economy minister William Graham said:

Stronger Futures Cymru is an ambitious vision for apprenticeships in Wales and will help to ensure that Wales has a workforce equipped with the skills they need to drive the economy forward.

After 16 years of a Labour-led Welsh Government, Wales continues to have some of the poorest education standards, highest unemployment rates and highest levels of welfare dependency of all the UK nations and regions. Businesses right across Wales are struggling to recruit highly skilled workers and as a result, our economy is struggling.

That's why the Welsh Conservatives are committed to raising standards and our ambitious plans will deliver the robust skills and training framework the Welsh economy needs.

– William Graham AM, Welsh Conservatives