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Unemployment rises in Wales

Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

In the three months to October unemployment in Wales rose by 8,000 to 105,000 people without jobs. That's a rate of 7.1 percent.

Unemployment in Wales is lower than at the same time last year, while youth unemployment is still falling faster in Wales than in the UK.

Employment in Wales remains well above its historic average and claimant count is at its lowest rate since 2008.

When these figures are considered alongside other key economic indicators, such as the largest increase in GVA per head in the UK and record inward investment, it is clear that our policies are making a difference, supporting jobs and growth right across Wales.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

Work schemes 'already helped thousands' with mental health issues

The Department for Work and Pensions has defended work programmes aimed at getting people back into work following criticism from a mental health charity.

The DWP say previous jobs schemes didn't do enough for people with mental health issues Credit: PA

MIND say work schemes are failing to help people with mental health issues find work.

Mind are overlooking the fact that previous jobs schemes simply didn’t do enough for people with mental health conditions.

Our Work Programme gives tailored support to each individual and is now helping turn around more lives than any previous scheme.

It has already helped thousands of people with mental health conditions into work, instead of just writing people off on sickness benefits as often happened in the past.

– Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson


Inquiry set up to look at job opportunities for over 50s

A National Assembly Committee has been established to undertake an inquiry into employment opportunities for older people in Wales.

The Committee will look at many factors relating to over 50s in the workplace. Credit: ITV Wales News

The Committee will look at the effectiveness of the Welsh Government's Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-23 in assisting older people into work.

It will also look at the barriers that older people face trying to get jobs, the extent of age-discrimination in the workplace and whether there are any disadvantages to older people returning to work.

The Committee will be also considering:

  • Transport difficulties, including availability and cost (especially in rural areas).
  • Lack of confidence (for example, following redundancy).
  • Assisting and supporting people with additional challenges (for example, those with a disability).
  • The role of older people in mentoring younger workers and passing on their skills and knowledge.
  • How older people re-entering the labour market can affect the number of jobs and career progression opportunities available to younger workers.
  • Assisting those from areas of high unemployment.

"The Committee will be looking at the availability and suitability of local job opportunities for older people as well as the need for relevant support and skills training. In addition to assessing the impact and value-for-money of European funding we will also be examining the potential barriers to older people accessing employment owing to caring responsibilities, and to do this we need to hear the views of people in Wales."

– William Graham, Chair of Enterprise and Business Committee

Glyndwr Uni: 'Very positive future' as licence reinstated

Glyndwr University has welcomed the Home Office's decision to allow it to recruit overseas students again, which it says means the institution has "a very positive future."

More than 2,000 of the university's 8,000 students are from outside the EU.

Glyndwr had its licence suspended after an investigation into alleged visa fraud, with concerns about how students obtained English language certificates.

University bosses say it will relinquish the lease on its London campus at Elephant and Castle in December, and move to new premises by July 2015.

It will only recruit students to its Wrexham campus initially, and plans to "develop security controls" before applying to recruit to London-based courses again in the future.

The University is fully committed to continuing its support for a more robust student visa system and in that regard is undertaking a number of changes to its London campus during the coming months, including a locational move.

The University will continue to work closely with the UKVI, which shared its concerns for students legitimately studying at Glyndwr University, in accordance with legal regulations.

The students are the University’s primary concern, and the majority are hard-working and dedicated. They have not infringed immigration or University rules and regulations and should not suffer because of the misdeeds of a few.

The lifting of the suspension and the new structure we have put in place this year point to a very positive future for Glyndwr University.

– Professor Michael Scott, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Glyndwr University


Glyndwr University ban on overseas students lifted

Glyndwr University will once again be able to recruit non-EU students after its 'highly trusted' status was returned. Credit: ITV News

A suspension has been lifted, with conditions, on the recruitment of overseas students by Glyndwr University, following a scandal over English language tests.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) suspended the university's 'highly trusted' status - which enables it to sponsor the visas of non-European Union students - in June.

The decision by the Home Office now allows the University to resume the sponsorship of international students at its Wrexham campus, but not in London.

Concerns over future of Glyndwr University

There are concerns about the future of Glyndwr University - and hundreds of jobs - if a home office ruling goes against it today.

The ruling could have a bearing on the future of the University. Credit: ITV Wales News

The University is due to find out whether the home office will lift a suspension on its ability to recruit non-EU students, following a scandal over fake visas.

In June UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) suspended the university's "highly trusted" status which enables it to sponsor the visas of non-European Union students.

Money provided by non EU students in 2012/13 was worth about £9.5m of the university's estimated £43m income, and the university is believed to be running with a £1.4m deficit since August.

Euro aid spending approved

A detailed agreement between the Welsh Government and the European Commission has been reached on how £2 billion of European aid will be spent over the next seven years.

It's split between a regional development fund, worth about £1.1 billion and a smaller social fund, which supports skills development and helping people into work. Most of the development money will be spent on the European Commission's objectives, including research and innovation, the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises, renewables and energy efficiency,

But £252 million will be spent on transport, which the Welsh Government argued was also a priority for economic growth. The metro scheme to improve public transport in Cardiff and the Valleys will be a major beneficiary but the Commission has also agreed to some of the money being spent on road improvements to the A40 in west Wales and the A55 in the north.

Wales is the first to adopt programmes in the UK and indeed, it is a model for the rest of Europe's regions in terms of 'partnership in action'. Thanks to the tireless work and dedication - from ministerial level to the grassroots, we are able to launch these vital programmes for investments that will set Wales on the path to smart and green growth - connecting people, skills and jobs

– European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu

The EU is a unique partnership of nations working together for the benefit of their citizens, and as a pro-European Government we value the role of Wales in Europe and to the UK’s membership of the EU.

– Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM

Long term shift work 'linked to impaired brain power'

Researchers studied more than 3000 shift workers. Credit: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/PA Images

Long term shift work could be linked to impaired brain power, according to a study carried out by scientists from Swansea University and other European Universities.

They say shift work, like chronic jet lag, is known to disrupt the body’s internal clock and it has been linked to a range of health problems, like ulcers, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and some cancers.

But little is known about its potential impact on brain functions, like memory and processing speed.

The study published in ‘Occupational & Environmental Medicine’ suggests the impact seems to be most noticeable over a period of 10 or more years, and although the effects can be reversed, this may take at least five years.

“The study shows the long term effects of shift work on the body clock are not only harmful to workers’ physical health, but also affect their mental abilities. Such cognitive impairments may have consequences for the safety of shift workers and the society that they serve, as well as for shift workers’ quality of life.”

– Dr Philip Tucker, Professor of Psychology, Swansea University
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