Sometimes people, and young people in particular, feel that politicians are rather remote, but those myths were soon dispelled when Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government, got chatting to young people on his visit to Llanelli last week. He met young people from the Neetly into Business Project run by the Mid and West Chamber at their Stebonheath centre in Llanelli. The project, funded via the EU and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action’s Engagement Gateway, helps young people set up their own businesses, teaching them the necessary skills and helping them develop viable business plans. Some will go on to run their own businesses, while others will use the skills they have learned to help them find jobs. One of the keys to the success of this and similar projects is the involvement of local businesses, and the efforts they make to upskill the young people.
The First Minster also met students doing GCSEs as part of an alternative curriculum programme – students who had been in danger of falling through the system, but who now had positive plans for the future – and he told them about Jon Griffiths AM, now the Solicitor General in the Welsh Assembly Government, who could not wait to get out of school as a teenager but who then went back to education later on.
It would be a tragedy if hard-working enthusiastic young business people failed because government policies leave the economy to stagnate – that’s why I’m calling for a proper growth strategy.