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Tackling Unemployment In Wales

7 November 2013

Costain and other major industrial players in Wales, together with the Welsh government and youngsters, have come together to help tackle unemployment in the Principality.

The event – part of a series of meetings dubbed The Real Conversation – took place at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

It was aimed at giving each group a chance to talk about employment, with the Welsh government keen to get better at listening and understanding issues in the employment sector, such as whether the right opportunities were open to youngsters and how the government could get organisations working together more effectively.

The Real Conversation was also a chance for young people to speak directly to decision-makers and tell them about the difficulties they have encountered gaining the right qualifications and work.

Project Manager Rob Fancourt and Public Liaison Officer Phil Baker represented Costain at one of more than 20 tables, each of which had representatives from industry, the Welsh government and young people – some high-flyers from schools and colleges, others who were at risk of languishing.

One young man had been brought up in care and, in his own words, had “fallen through the net” and made the not uncommon comment that It was almost easier to stay on benefits then to find work. However, he was determined to better himself and had started a part-time degree.

“I do quite a lot of work with schools anyway and I’ve got a 23-year-old lad, so I was pretty aware of the way young people think,” said Baker. But the discussions had proved useful in giving each side a better idea of the problems faced by the others. “One question asked was ‘Do young people actually want to work?’ and by far the majority said ‘Yes’.

“I think it changed some preconceptions among the participants. I think some of the young people were very happy that older people were prepared to listen and that the Welsh government was wanting to listen. That came across very sincerely – it wasn’t just an exercise. This will help to change policy.”