More than £16 million of EU funds will be invested in two North Wales projects, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced.

The funding will boost businesses in the marine energy sector and training programmes for people affected by long-term unemployment and economic inactivity.

Around 50 businesses will benefit from specialist research and development collaborations with universities and 2,000 people who are out of work take part in training programmes to develop new skills and improve their job prospects.

Mark Drakeford said: “This is a major investment of EU funding which will finance highly specialised-innovation in an important sector of our economy and target support to people who are finding it difficult to get into work.

These projects are also good examples of how EU funds are being used in Wales to grow businesses, improve people’s lives and strengthen our economy.”

Almost £12 million will support Bangor University‘s £17 million SEACAMS 2 project, which aims to expand Wales’ marine energy sector over the next four years.

Experts at Bangor and Swansea universities will provide specialist research and development programmes to help businesses exploit commercial opportunities and create new products and patents.

The project aims to create new enterprises in the sector and accelerate job creation in existing businesses.

Professor Colin Jago, director of the SEACAMS project, said: “We will build on our five years of work with industry during the first SEACAMS funding phase.

In pooling expertise at Bangor and Swansea universities, we have the scope of knowledge to provide the detailed technical information required to support these exciting developments, which could change the way we resource our energy needs in Wales.”