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Secretary of State visits college’s work programme

college programSECRETARY of State, Iain Duncan Smith MP, visited Pembrokeshire College to find out more about their delivery of the Government’s Work Programme, which has been an effective tool for helping the long-term unemployed back into work.

Pembrokeshire College is the lead deliverer of the Work Programme across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Their successful back to work figures since the programme started in 2011 has ranked them as one of the leading deliverers of the scheme in the UK.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP and Minister for Wales, Stephen Crabb, visited the College in December 2012 to gain an update on their delivery of the new Government initiative.

Stephen was keen to help secure a visit by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to showcase the work that the College’s team has been doing to help support people back into work locally.

On Thursday, December 12, Iain Duncan Smith MP, accompanied by Stephen Crabb MP, visited the College’s Work Programme offices to meet both staff and customers and to find out more about the resources on offer to those seeking work.

The Secretary of State’s visit comes at the end of a year when unemployment levels have fallen steadily in Preseli Pembrokeshire.

Following his visit Mr Duncan Smith commented:“I was delighted to visit Pembrokeshire College with Stephen and see how the Work Programme is making a real differenceto the hardest to help jobseekers.

“It was a pleasure to meet the team and congratulate them for their hard work and dedication.

“The fall in unemployment figures in Preseli Pembrokeshire is extremely positive news, as it is in the rest of the country, and shows just why the Work Programme is so important to the long-term unemployed.”

Commenting from the College, Stephen Crabb MP said: “I am pleased to have arranged for the Secretary of State to come to Pembrokeshire and see the excellent progress being made in tackling unemployment this year. I have been very impressed with the way that the team at Pembrokeshire College, as local providers of the Work Programme, have been delivering intensive support to the long-term jobless.

“Helping people overcome the difficult barriers that stop them working remains one of the biggest challenges facing Wales. The performance of the Work Programme and our local Job Centre Plus has been very encouraging and it is good that Ian Duncan-Smith has been able to see it firsthand.

“I am very pleased that the Secretary of State, who is leading the Government’s welfare reform and back-to-work initiatives, has been able to see the passion and commitment that the team at Pembrokeshire College have in making one of his programs a success in our county.”

Director of Business, Development and Community Services at the College, Dr Geoff Elliott, added: “The Work Programme forms an integral part of the College’s Welfare to Work provision which is currently engaging with over 1,000 people across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“The success of the Work Programme at the College is testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff who work within this challenging sector. Our results show that the key to tackling long-term unemployment is ensuring that people receive the individual support they need to help them back into sustainable employment.

“We have found that there are many synergies between what the Work Programme offers and what we do at the College on a daily basis – training people to make them ready for employment.”

Stephen Crabb MP and the Secretary of State also visited The Lion’s Den on Snowdrop Lane in Haverfordwest to meet with the owner, Hayley Thomas and her staff. Hayley was helped to set up the indoor children’s play area, cafe and nursery through the New Enterprise Allowance which is available from the Department for Work and Pensions to help people set up their own business ventures.

Hayley is now employing 15 staff members and has worked hard to develop the business since it was founded in 2011. Hayley was recently selected to attend a reception at Number 10 to recognise the success stories of the Government’s new scheme and support for businesses.

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Dayne Stone

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