“We need a national mission to help the next generation to recover some hope and opportunity from the despair of this virus” says Dawn Bowden MS for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. Dawn Bowden MS
Dawn Bowden MS

Dawn Bowden, Member of the Senedd (MS) for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and a member of the Valleys Taskforce says:  “the alarm bells are ringing on youth unemployment due to Covid-19” and is asking the First Minister of Wales “to consider how an expanded and targeted apprenticeship programme can provide part of the solution as we start to build back from the current downturn”. As a member of the Senedd’s Children Young People and Education Committee Dawn is also hoping to call for a national mission to help equip our young people for the future.

Dawn Bowden MS said “I have written to First Minister Mark Drakeford, and I hope to ask a question in the Senedd today about encouraging more opportunities for our young people. We know this terrible virus is having a wide range of impacts on the social, economic and health conditions in our communities. I am however alarmed by the clear evidence about the impacts on young people in our local jobs market. The claimant count is rising amongst young people and we all bear a responsibility to try and find solutions to this challenge”.

Dawn Bowden added “We know from previous economic shocks and downturns that the impact on young people can be very long lasting and of detriment to the local and wider Welsh economy”.

She added “However we do have some local experiences that can provide hope, and successes that could help to build a response to this problem. For example the Aspire apprenticeship programme run by Merthyr college in conjunction with the local authority and local employers has been a success”.

“I believe this is a model that could be extended across more economic sectors including new opportunities in housing, construction and the Foundational economy”.

“Building on existing success is very much in line with the ethos of the work of the Valleys Taskforce and I will work with local partners to see what further progress we can make in responding to the needs of our young people. I regard this a key priority for the months and years ahead as we must help the next generation to recover some hope and opportunity from the despair of this virus”.



  1. Claimant count for 18-24 year olds has increased significantly in Merthyr Tydfil again this year and is higher than in Wales and UK https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157399/subreports/cca_time_series/report.aspx?


  1. The profile of Merthyr Tydfil produced by NOMIS highlights a range of long term economic challenges: higher rates of economic inactivity, lower qualification rates than the Wales and UK averages https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157399/report.aspx
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