PENARTH'S Assembly Member Vaughan Gething has given his backing to a scheme that has seen 10,000 graduates gain full-time employment.

Vaughan Gething AM, the Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty, met with Penarth Town Council’s two graduate placements recruited via Go Wales and the Jobs Growth Wales (JGW) Scheme on Thursday, July 17.

The Council’s Town Plan Development Officer Robert Callaghan and Marketing and Publicity Project Officer Lauren Wilson informed Vaughan Gething of how both of them had benefitted from the Scheme in finding full-time graduate level work in Wales.

The Jobs Growth Wales scheme, funded by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, provides 16-24 year olds in Wales with high quality work experience over a six month period. Employers are also provided with financial help to access their skills. Around 80 per cent of those placed go on to have their contracts extended by their employer. The scheme has been running for almost five years and last week passed the milestone of 10,000 graduates placed in work.

Town Clerk Shan Bowden said taking on the two graduates has allowed the Town Council to complete projects more quickly than they would have otherwise.

"It is a very useful scheme, the recruitment process was made simple by the Job Growth Wales Team and the Town Council was lucky to secure two excellent candidates," she said.

"Initially we spoke with Jobs Growth Wales staff regarding the projects that we had in mind for the graduates and we put together job descriptions and personal specifications. Jobs Growth Wales sourced the candidates and the Town Council selected a shortlist from the candidates provided. Communication with the Job Growth Wales team was easy and efficient and we felt supported throughout the whole process. At the end of the six month supported contracts both graduates have been offered further contracts.”

After hearing how successful the scheme had been for Penarth Town Council’s graduates Vaughan Gething said: “I was very impressed with Lauren and Robert. I was especially interested to hear first hand from people taking part in Jobs Growth Wales about whether it had made a difference for them and the employer.

"It is clear that they have both added real value to Penarth Town Council and their Jobs Growth Wales experience has already led to further employment. They were also able to explain that similar opportunities do not exist in England. I'm very proud that Jobs Growth Wales is a success and that we are investing in people like Lauren and Robert.”

Marketing and Publicity Project Officer Lauren Wilson, who joined the Town Council in February 2014, said: “I have participated in both JGW and Go Wales (who provide 10 week placements) both schemes have been fantastic. I’ve gained some great skills and been supported in the process. As all of my placements have been related, I am on a more solid career path than many people who graduated with me. I’m very grateful to have participated in both schemes and would strongly recommend both.”

Robert Callaghan, Town Plan Development Officer, joined the Town Council in October 2013 and said of the scheme: “I’m the only person from my course that has been able to find full time work in Wales related to their degree, and that’s all down to JGW. I’d encourage anyone who’s just graduated to consider a Jobs Growth Wales placement.”

Penarth Town Councillor Mike Cuddy said: "'Win ,win' is an overused phrase but in this case, I think it’s true. The Council has been able to develop its services for the people of Penarth and Robert and Lauren have gained useful skills and experience.'