BLAENAU Gwent is taking part in an ambitious scheme to provide 5,000 training and employment opportunities for households where no-one is in work.

The new one to one service aims to lift 5,000 long term unemployed from Wales into work or training and is being launched today by the Welsh Government.

The Lift programme will help hard to reach people who have not been able to take up training or find work.

In eight areas across Wales there will be two employment brokers who will work to find local people from workless households who could benefit from the programme. They will identify reasons why a person may not be in work, such as a lack of qualifications or health issues.

Each person taking part will have personal development plans to monitor their progress and adapt the help they are getting if needed.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has been involved in the Lift programme with a six week pilot that has run from Tredegar Fire Station.

Attendees have been directly identified and nominated from the Blaenau Gwent Communities First teams from Ebbw Vale and Tredegar.

All are between the ages of 17 and 29 and from workless households. The first people to go through the pilot will graduate today at a ceremony at the South Wales Fire and Rescue Training and Development Centre.

The scheme will focus on those who face the greatest barriers to becoming employed and may have spent more than six months out of work or training.

Lift will be piloted in eight of the Welsh Government’s Communities First clusters which cover the most disadvantaged areas in the country, including Tredegar and Ebbw Fawr.

It will also support those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, such as being a young single parent household; being a household in which the adults have few or no formal qualifications; people with weak employment records and individuals with disabilities.Lift is part of the Tackling Poverty Action Plan and will run until the end of 2017. It will have an initial budget of £500,000 for the first year and £1 million for 2014-15 and will also be supported by existing Welsh Government spending across departments.

Jeff Cuthbert, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister said: “We have a clear aim of helping some of the most hard to reach people in our society to find work and improve their life chances.

“We will provide one-to-one advice and help through our new Lift employment brokers to make sure we are doing all we can to find the right opportunities.”