JOB creation for young people has been hailed by First Minister Carwyn Jones as the Welsh Government’s greatest achievement of the year.
His comments came as the Programme for Government report for 2013-14 was published.
The annual publication tracks progress against 335 Government indicators covering growth and sustainable jobs, health and well-being, educational attainment and supporting children, families and deprived communities.
A statement from the Welsh Government listed these among the key findings:
*For the first time ever more than half of adults in Wales now hold an A-level or equivalent qualification
*A steady decline in circulatory disease mortality rates over the past decade alongside a steady decline in the cancer mortality rate.
*Wales has shown the biggest improvement in cancer survival among the four countries of the United Kingdom.
*As of March 31, 2013, 60.3 per cent of social houses now meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard which involves improving windows and doors, modernising kitchens and bathrooms and installing better heating if needed.
*A steady increase to the highest ever percentage of secondary school pupils being assessed in Welsh as their first language at the end of year 9.
*The Welsh Government reaching its target of placing 500 Community Support Officers on the streets of Wales in October 2013
Jobs Growth Wales was created in April 2012 and is the Welsh Government’s flagship youth employment programme.
The report says it has created 13,223 job opportunities for young people in Wales aged 16-24.
More than 5,000 of those jobs are said to have been created during the past year.
Speaking in the Senedd today, the First Minister said: “We are using all the levers at our disposal to secure the recovery of the Welsh economy and create jobs.
“The people of Wales are right to have high expectations of the services that they receive and I acknowledge that as resources go down and demand for services go up there will inevitably be some real delivery challenges.
“But the indicators we are publishing today are clear evidence that the Welsh economy and Welsh public services are moving forward despite tough times.
“The Welsh Government has stood up for Wales during these very tough times. For all those who have made a contribution to public services in Wales there is much to be proud of in what this data shows today.”
The First Minister visited Hydratech-Evans Coolants in Swansea ahead of the publication of the Programme for Government report to see how five young people were getting on having been employed through Jobs Growth Wales by the heat and cooling technology company.