KEN Skates, deputy minister for skills and technology, has welcomed the latest figures showing nearly 5,000 companies have taken on young people through Jobs Growth Wales.

The EU-backed programme, which began in April 2012, has seen a total of 4,723 companies taking part. The figures have shown that small businesses have been the largest beneficiaries of the scheme.

Through Jobs Growth Wales 317 young people have started up their own companies using the Young Entrepreneurs’ Bursary that is available through the scheme.

Figures from last month show that Jobs Growth Wales has now created over 14,500 job opportunities with over 11,300 young people filling these jobs.

The success rate of the scheme continues to climb, with 82 per cent of young people working in the private sector and progressing into employment or further learning after completing their Jobs Growth Wales six month opportunities.