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Report: Reduce zero-hour contracts for care workers

Zero-hour contracts are effecting the ability of care workers to provide an effective level of service says a report commissioned by the Welsh Government.

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The study says zero-hour contracts increase anxiety around job security and hamper reliability in the independent care sector, "creating strain and dissatisfaction with service provision".

The findings from Manchester Met University recommend more secure contracts for the majority of domiciliary care workers and for zero-hour contracts to be used sparingly.

Researchers highlight several factors influencing working conditions: long working hours for little financial gain; perception of the industry as low skilled; lack of continuous training; and short visits to service users affording a lack of time for care.

It is clear that domiciliary care workers in Wales are doing a fantastic job, motivated by a sense of altruism to provide the best care possible.

However, they face a mix of pressures that affect their ability and motivation to deliver domiciliary care to the standard they aspire to.

– Lead researcher Carol Atkinson, Professor of Human Resource Management at Manchester Met

Video game developer to create 70 new Welsh jobs

Game developers Relentless Software are to open a new studio in Wales, creating 70 jobs.

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Brighton based Relentless, who is collaborating with Hasbro to develop multiple new projects, decided to base their work in Wales following Welsh Government funding support of £550,000.

We are so pleased by the Welsh Government backing our new studio in Wales. Without their support, we wouldn’t have been able to keep these new products in the UK, which was, of course, our preference. We are grateful, and also very pleased to be able to help grow the games community in Wales, and that the local talented workforce can obtain high quality development jobs here in Wales.

– Andrew Eades, Director of Relentless

This is a highly strategic project and a significant coup for the digital media sector in Wales. It will be Wales’ second major inward investment games development studio that will create 70 skilled jobs and attract £Ms of investment to Wales from a global entertainment company.

Wales has a growing international reputation as a centre for digital media and I am delighted that a global multinational name like Hasbro is investing in Wales and hope this will lead to further collaboration in the future.

– Edwina Hart AM, Economy Minister

Unemployment levels fall again in Wales

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The number of people unemployed in Wales has fallen by 8,000, according to the latest figures.

Between November 2015 and January this year, a total of 79,000 people were unemployed here, 13,000 less than between November 2014 and January 2015.

Last month I welcomed Aston Martin to Wales.This is a world-class company that was attracted with Welsh Government support against fierce competition from more than 20 other potential locations worldwide. They will create more than 750 highly-skilled jobs at St Athan, with a further 1000 jobs being created across the supply chain and local businesses as a direct result of the investment. Meanwhile, an expansion by MotoNovo Finance, announced yesterday and secured with Welsh Government support, will create almost 600 new jobs. The investment will see the insurer, owned by South African based FirstRand Bank, expand and diversify into new markets and relocate its headquarters to Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone, bringing its total jobs number to over 1000 by 2021.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister

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Npower to cut 2,400 jobs after losses of £100 million

Energy giant Npower is to cut 2,400 jobs after reporting losses of more than £100 million.

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The company said it will make "extensive cost savings" to help turn around the significant losses made in 2015, and return the company to profitability.

Npower, which has 4.9 million accounts, has major plants in the UK including two in Wales, at Pembroke and Aberthaw.

£10m scheme for young people with autism to get into work

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A £10 million project is launched today to help young people in Wales with learning disability and autism into employment.

The five-year Engage to Change project will work with 800 employers across Wales to help 1000 young people with learning disability or autism to develop their employment skills through paid work placements lasting between 6-12 months.

The project will be funded by The Big Lottery Fund’s Getting Ahead 2 grant - the largest ever awarded by the organisation in Wales.

Researchers at Cardiff University’s National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) will evaluate the project.

We’re very excited to be involved in this programme of work, which has the potential to be life changing for those involved.

Helping young people with learning disability and autism to establish themselves in the world of work will benefit not just the individuals themselves, but also their families, the wider community and the economy of Wales.

– Professor Ian Jones, NCMH director

Welsh workers face extra decade in employment

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People in some parts of Wales face working until the age of 77 to match parents' pension.

Research from Royal London has found that earners who start making minimum statutory contributions to their pension from the age of 22 face working far longer to get the "gold standard" pensions enjoyed by the previous generation.

The research suggests a situation where people face having to "work until they drop" to sustain current lifestyles.

Conwy tops the list with workers expected to have to continue in employment until 77, with Cardiff and Newport trailing on 76. This contrasts with workers in Merthyr, who are expected to be able to retire two years earlier at 74.

A "gold standard" pension is defined by Royal London as a total pension, including state pension, which is equal to two-thirds of pre-retirement income.

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