The Latest in Skills & Talent across Southeast Wales

This November, our region saw exciting digital and tech developments – from miFuture’s tech for good hackathon to FinTech Wales’ Sustainable Leadership Programme, this month focused on future-proofing skills across the tech industry. 

Following the Federation of Small Business (FSB) and CIPD report outlining the skills challenges facing SMEs, it’s clear that skills development is vital to equip businesses with the skillsets they need to grow and expand. 

Future-proofing Gen Z Skillsets

This November, miFuture launched a Future Fit Skills Hackathon to bring tech and digital enthusiasts together to future-proof their skillsets. 

miFuture report that half of all school leavers say school didn’t equip them with the relevant skills they need. To tackle these attitudes, high-value career pathways must be more visible to young people in order to raise awareness of the in-demand skills and sectors of the future. 

The event saw participants join working groups to solve problems using stakeholder input, audience research, and problem statements to pitch a proposal to the judging panel for the chance to win a prize fund. By bringing like-minded individuals together, miFuture empower Gen Z to learn new skills and network with peers and experts in tech. 

FinTech Wales Announce Sustainable Fintech Leadership Programme

FinTech Wales has partnered with the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) to launch a five-module course for FinTech professionals to develop sustainability strategies for their organisations. 

The programme is due to launch in 2024, giving participants the opportunity to learn best practice from sustainability experts in order to combat social and environmental issues in their business.  

By empowering fintech leaders to put sustainable strategies in place, this collaboration between FinTech Wales and LIBF further accelerates the journey towards Net Zero

Engineering Careers Launched at GE Aerospace Wales’ New Training Academy

GE Aerospace Wales marked the official opening of their new Training Academy in Nantgarw with a visit from Minister of Economy Vaughan Gething MS.  

The Academy will induct new recruits and provide critical upskilling to aircraft engineers with a practical training area and purpose-built classrooms, growing their skillsets for emerging technologies. Following the site’s close relationship with Coleg y Cymoedd, it will be the key training area for electrical and mechanical engineering apprentices, along with university placement students working at GE Aerospace.  

Along with the Academy, the GE Aerospace Wales Apprenticeship programme recently opened to popular demand. Delivered in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd, the three-year programme equips apprentices with the academic and hands-on skills they need to thrive in the industry. With approximately a third of the current workforce at the Nantgarw site joining the business as an apprentice, it’s clear that the Apprenticeship programme sets apprentices up for successful careers. 

SME-led Skills Key to Improving Productivity and Growth

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the CIPD in Wales have reported that addressing skills challenges faced by SMEs is vital to improve productivity and skills shortages. 

The report, A Skills-Led Economy for Wales, highlights how skills policy needs to be adapted to address rising skills shortage vacancies and lower than average productivity in Wales. SMEs are particularly impacted by these skills challenges, with most SMEs reporting that they struggle to recruit and facilitate skills development.  

The report outlines a series of recommendations to support SMEs, emphasising how business and skills support systems must work together to create a skills ecosystem that benefits both individuals and businesses, boosting access to existing skills and giving businesses the opportunity to allocate more resource to skills development. 

SMEs Face Barriers to AI Adoption

Small business lender iowca have found that 55% of SME leaders report that they have a good understanding of AI but are nervous about adopting AI technology in their company.  

There is an enduring apprehension surrounding AI, with many leaders unsure how to leverage its benefits. As iowca reports, 2 in 10 believe they lack the technical expertise to implement it and the cost of implementation is too high.  

However, with 20% of SME leaders believe they can save at least ten hours per week by using AI, and three times as many leaders of small companies believe AI is a positive development for their company than think it will be negative, it’s clear that demystifying AI is key to unlocking its practical benefits.  

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