Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Prompts for More SME Employers in Wales to Invest in Staff Training and Development

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New research shows almost 40% of SME employers in Wales either don’t provide staff with any training or development or only offer statutory training and induction courses that are linked to staff’s existing roles.

Of those employers offering training in addition to statutory or induction courses, 73% offer health and safety training for their staff, while only 42% offer training in new technology.

The study was undertaken by Beaufort Research as part of the Welsh Government’s Age of Investment campaign, which is designed to highlight to Welsh employers the importance of investing in skills development for the future of their business.

It also showed that 70% of those employers that do not provide additional training or development do not recognise the risk of not investing in the training or development of staff.

Welsh Government’s Age of Investment campaign is designed to highlight the value of investing in skills, both to employers and individuals across Wales, and to encourage and advise businesses about how best to prepare for the future socio-economic challenges that an ageing working population will bring.

Through the campaign, the Welsh Government will be engaging with Wales’s leading HR practitioners and business leaders to offer advice and guidance on skills investment to other employers, as well as highlighting exemplar companies where up-skilling has had a direct, positive impact on the business.

Downloadable advice guides and toolkits to help employers recognise the value of skills and of older workers will also be produced.

Debbie Rainbow, Head of People Services at Bluestone National Park Resort is one of the HR specialists lending her support to the Age of Investment campaign.

“People are at the heart of our business,” she said. “If our staff are happy, they give a better experience to our customers so empowering our staff is vitally important.

“We offer various work-based learning solutions for our staff including NVQs, apprenticeships and international management qualifications. We want our employees to feel there are absolutely no barriers to progression within the company and always look to promote from within where we can, so the more experienced workers can share their skills and knowledge with the more junior members of our team.

“We are more than happy to invest in continuous skills and training development for our team as there’s no doubt it has helped us build a loyal workforce and retain our staff. Not only does this have a positive impact on productivity and customer service but it also keeps the hassle and cost of recruitment to a minimum as this can be a real challenge, particularly in rural areas.”

Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, said:

“Continually investing in skills throughout people’s working lives is key, not only to help individuals progress through their own careers but also to ensure business survival and the future prosperity of the Welsh economy.

“It appears from this latest research that while SMEs in Wales clearly recognise the importance of skills development, a number of employers need some encouragement to take the all-important next step of investing in training that will benefit their employees and broaden their skills base.

“Skills support in Wales is changing. With the uncertainty surrounding European funding and future access to skilled labour from elsewhere in the EU , employer input and investment has never been so important to ensure the best results for Wales, its people, businesses and the wider economy.

“While our role in Government is to advise and help businesses to prepare for current and future challenges around skills in the workforce, employers have to recognise the part they need to play and lead the charge in establishing a sustainable skills base in Wales. Only with a combined effort of individuals, businesses and government will we deliver the skills Wales needs to prosper.”

For employers looking for more information on how they can improve the skills of their workers through programmes such as Apprenticeships, the Welsh Government’s Skills Gateway for Business – https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/ – has a series of toolkits, information and advice and guidance for employers to access.