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Assembly Member for Wrexham Lesley Griffiths has praised a flagship Welsh Government programme aimed at offering young people quality employment opportunities.

Jobs Growth Wales celebrated its first anniversary this week with news it has outperformed its initial job creation target by nearly 50%.

The £75 million three-year scheme is fast approaching 6,000 new job opportunities created for people aged between 16-24.

The original target in April 2012 was to create 4,000 positions each year for three years.

In addition to creating job opportunities for unemployed young people, the scheme also benefits Welsh businesses. To persuade enterprises to take part, the programme covers salary costs at national minimum wage and national insurance contributions for the first six months of the newly created positions. This in turn helps Welsh businesses grow and provides a boost to the national economy.

Initial research indicates around three in every four recruits are kept on at the end of the six months, with many progressing onto formal apprenticeship training.

AM Griffiths said: “Young people have suffered as much as anyone in the current economic downturn so it is important the Welsh Government has responded with an innovative scheme, creating job opportunities and enabling economic growth. It is encouraging so many of the positions created are leading to sustained employment and the progression onto apprenticeships is also highly promising.

There is a long way to go but Jobs Growth Wales has been a successful initiative and has had a positive impact on our society. I trust people in Wrexham will continue to benefit from the flagship scheme.”