JOBLESS youngsters in Islwyn will be given help in finding work through a pioneering new scheme.

Believed to be the first of its kind in Wales, firms across the area, in places like Blackwood, Newbridge and Risca have teamed up to offer placements to the youngsters.

Companies have signed up to the Islwyn Work Experience programme, that will allow anybody from the area, aged 18 to 24, undertake an eight week placement.

As well as providing practical experience of the world of work in roles such as electrical, engineering, carpentry, factory and office-based settings, the experience will have no impact on their Jobseekers' Allowance payments.

This means that they will be able to continue looking for work as they undertake the placement.

A key figure in setting up the project has been local MP Chris Evans, who has championed the cause of local youngsters and been vocal as unemployment levels have risen.

Mr Evans said: "Since inviting businesses in Islwyn to take part in the programme in recent weeks I have been overwhelmed by the positive response of local employers.

"The scheme is the first of its kind in Wales and gives young people an opportunity to undertake a locally based work placement and help boost their CVs."

He said high-profile companies such as Barclays have already signed up and he is hopeful many more will sign up before the official launch.

That takes place at Morels restaurant at the Coleg Gwent Cross Keys campus on Friday, June 7, 12pm.