The Welsh Labour Government's flagship Jobs Growth Wales scheme is failing to stem the increasing number of young people not in employment or training.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats launched the attack following the publication of a damning report by the Welsh Audit Office. The report concluded that the Welsh Labour Government is not doing enough to tackle the rising number of those not in education, employment or training (NEETs) aged between 19 and 24.
In Wales, the number of 19-24 year olds who are NEET increased by 6 per cent to 23% between 2008 and 2012. The equivalent figure in England is just 16.1%.
Eluned Parrott AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister said:
"The Welsh Labour Government loves to parade the success of Jobs Growth Wales, but it's clear from this report that the scheme is of little help to the growing number of young people unable to find education, employment or training. Any increase in the percentage of young people aged 19-24 who aren't in work or studying is unacceptable, but this steep increase is not on at all.
"This report is further proof that Jobs Growth Wales doesn't tackle the underlying problems of youth unemployment. Jobs Growth Wales does nothing to target support at those young people most at risk of becoming disengaged from employment and training. This lack of focussed support means, as this report shows, that the most vulnerable young people in our society simply fall through the cracks.
"In England, over a million apprenticeships have been created for young people by Lib Dems in Government, giving them practical skills and helping them find work. Here in Wales the number of apprenticeship places as fallen over the same period.
"While the Lib Dems are helping young people get on in life, the Welsh Labour Government are failing to provide the same level of help in Wales.
"The Welsh Labour Government needs to act now, to stop these young people from being trapped in an unemployment vacuum for the rest of their lives."