2022 always promised to be a year of milestones in Skills & Training, with game-changing programmes such as Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee being rolled out to provide everyone under 25 with the offer of work, education, training or self-employment.
This newly-launched comprehensive government package brings together programmes designed to provide the right support at the right time for the diverse needs of young people across Wales – including new user friendly services to help young people find opportunities more easily – plus a five-year commitment to creating 125,000 all-age apprenticeships in Wales.
Last week saw the early stage roll-out of this ambitious programme – and it was joined by many other public, private and education sector innovations that, together, will help ensure no generation in Wales is ‘lost’ following the COVID-19 pandemic …
Training, Skilling & Job Creation across Wales
The past seven days has witnessed the signing of the Mid Wales Growth Deal by the Welsh Government, UK Government and the region’s local authorities – with a commitment to creating between 1,100-1,400 new jobs in Mid Wales by 2032 – and that emphasis on growing new skills and new jobs for a new age also saw two inspirational programmes being launched by HE and FE colleges (with private sector partners) in South and North Wales.
The Developing Entrepreneurial Women Programme partnership between University of South Wales and NatWest Cymru is helping support women entrepreneurs to start businesses and join a community of female founders – through a fully-funded series of inspirational masterclasses and practical events that has already engaged 303 female entrepreneurs and helped 29 businesses to start, with a further 30 enterprises receiving the additional opportunity of business coaching and professional development sessions, addressing commission barriers facing women entrepreneurs. Subject areas covered include everything from gaining financial and legal know-how to the finer details involved in launching a start-up – with the added benefit of full support from a proven business leader community.
In North Wales, Coleg Cambria unveiled a radical new programme to train the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicle mechanics – offering learners at the colleges Deeside and Wrexham sites the opportunity to undertake Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Repair 2 and 3 qualifications, geared to meeting the unprecedented demand for skilled technicians to work on zero-emission transport. The college has hybrid and full electric vehicles on-site and are in discussions with manufacturers to forge new partnerships that will enable Coleg Cambria to install further cutting-edge machinery and vehicles – giving students the best learning experience imaginable to drive the green revolution, with new Knowledge and Practical programmes being unveiled this year in subjects that include Electrical Diagnosis, Electrical Testing and Engine Management.
Gleeds takes the lead in the future of the Construction Sector
Last week also highlighted how private sector companies can help lead the way in shaping the talentscape – with Gleeds, the Cardiff-based property and construction consultancy, establishing an Emerging Talent Group aimed at bringing junior staff members from construction consultancy firms together to collaborate, learn and network.
The group was founded to nurture future leaders in the Gleeds business, encouraging younger team members to collaborate with their peers in other disciplines across the construction sector. The Emerging Talent Group is open to anyone currently in the early stages of their career – from Apprentices, Trainees and recent Graduates to Assistant Project Managers and entry level Quantity Surveyors – and it’s a hugely welcome initiative in an industry that understands the need to build a sustainable talent pipeline.
It’s noteworthy that Gleeds is also working with the Universities of South Wales and the West of England to encourage more graduate talent to join the Gleeds ranks – reflecting Venture’s own view that win-win partnerships and close collaborations are key pillars for the future of skilling.
Precautionary note for language learning
Last week also sounded a precautionary note in the findings of The Language Trend Wales 2021 report, which reviewed international language teaching and learning in Wales – predicting that if current trends continue, it’s possible that there will be less than one hundred GCSE entries in French and German in Wales by 2030. Published by the British Council, the report calls for a full review of international languages at secondary and post-16 college level to develop a national languages strategy for Wales – noting that between 2020 and 2021, entries for GCSE French and GCSE German declined by 11 per cent and 12 per cent respectively, and numbers have almost halved since 2015.
As a country that understands the importance of language for both enriching culture and opening up opportunity, Wales needs to do all that it can to ensure that language provision – and its take up – remains a key part of our native skills base.
For more Skills & Talent updates, visit the Venture hub at www.venturewales.org