Wednesday 27 July 2011

Helping the young people of Llanelli - a challenge for County Hall

Carmarthenshire County Council has emerged as the successful bidder to take over the failed Technium business centre in Dafen, Llanelli. The full story can be read here.

The terms of the deal are confidential, but it seems the council will initially lease the building rather than purchase it outright. It probably won't be long before the top brass decide that this is another must-have strategic investment (like the Johnstown creamery, now being given to an evangelical Christian group).

It was also disturbing to see that two of the three bidders were cash-strapped public bodies (the Council and Dyfed Powys Police). Why the police should want to take over a facility like this is not clear, especially after they have spent so much money on extending their HQ not far away.

The aim of the deal is, however, a good one - to train and provide young people with work experience, as well as apprenticeships according to the council leader Meryl Gravell. As we all know, apprenticeships are like hen's teeth nowadays, so let's hope that this is more than just words, and that the scheme really will help young people on a career ladder which leads to something other than the jobs in the retail sector.

County Hall is not exactly Warren Buffett when it comes to spotting good investments, and only time and an unwonted degree of honesty on the part of the council will show whether this scheme does what it says on the tin.

Let's wish the scheme well, hoping that for once the county council can get things right and avoid strangling a good thing with red tape and incompetence.

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