The programme, which is run by the Welsh Assembly Government in partnership with the Jobcentre plus and the five Local Authorities in the Heads of the Valleys Area, has helped over, 6000 people back to work since it was launched in 2003.
Designed to complement other Welfare to Work provision, the programme, which is backed by the European Social Fund, provides advice, training and employment support across the five Local Authorities in the Heads of the Valleys area. It was piloted in Blaenau Gwent between 2003 and 2007 before being rolled out to Torfaen, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Merthyr Tydfil.
The evaluation of the scheme, carried out by Cambridge Policy Consultants identified that it is on track to achieve its target of engaging with 14,000 people and to move 10,000 in to work by 2012. During the period covered by the report (April 2007 – March 2010) the scheme had worked with over 8,600 and helped more than 5,100 into work. This is in addition to the 1200 people who found work as part of the Blaenau Gwent pilot.
Its job outcome rate of 66% is ‘significantly higher than the national average’ of other welfare to work schemes such as Employment zones and New Deal. In view of with the entrenched regeneration issues, in particular worklessness, in the area and the recent recession, the report finds this particularly impressive. Job sustainability after 17, 34 and 52 weeks also compare favourably to the national average.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM congratulated JobMatch staff on achieving such a positive report. She said:
“Regeneration is as much about investing in people as it is in bricks and mortar so I am delighted that JobMatch has been shown to be doing such a good job in helping thousands of people back to work.
“JobMatch is adding real value to the Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area programme and making a real difference to people’s lives as well as bringing obvious benefits to the local economy. It is an excellent example of what we can achieve by working together.”