Aproject to provide more than 9,000 economically inactive and long-term unemployed people with job opportunities has been announced.
The pounds 25m South West WorkWays project will match local people with businesses, helping them gain the vital experience they need to find long-term employment through waged job and volunteering opportunities.
The three-year project will provide extra support for businesses during the economic downturn, as well as tackling the barriers that prevent individuals from accessing the labour market.
It will help ensure tailored services such as mentoring, benefits advice, help with transport to get to work and developing interview skills.
The scheme is backed with almost pounds 17m from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government, with further funding from the Department of Work and Pensions and local authorities.
In these challenging times it is more important than ever to support economically inactive individuals and the long-term unemployed in entering the workforce, while boosting support for business.
The partnership brought together through economic summits, has addressed these concerns and using European funding is able to respond directly, preparing Wales' greatest asset - its people - to maximise their opportunities now and in the future when the upturn arrives.
And it will, says Rhys Llewellyn, an expert economist, managing partner of Zinnia LLP and former senior managing partner of Ernst & Young's Human Capital Practice with responsibilities not only for the United Kingdom, but for Europe and beyond.
"Improving the skills and employment prospects for thousands of hard to reach individuals will bring increased prosperity not only for those individuals, but for their families and communities also," said Mr Llewellyn.
Thanks to funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, this new project now provides excellent opportunities for individuals across south west Wales who have up until now found it difficult to get back into work.
"The resilience of the underlying economies in emerging Europe has been one of the more positive surprises to come out of the global recession," Mr Llewellyn said. …