North Wales Economic Ambition Board
There’s never been a more important time to help employers and employees acquire the skills they need here in Wales. Every region and community across the country is facing many challenges and opportunities. In a post-pandemic, post-Brexit world, Skills Gateway for Business is here to help everyone prepare, develop and adapt; identifying and nurturing the skills needed to thrive and prosper in what many are calling the fourth industrial revolution.
Last summer the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales pledged to invest in helping businesses recruit and train up an inclusive workforce – with particular emphasis on improved outcomes for disabled people and the creation of a network of Disabled People’s Employment Champions. We spoke with Alwen Williams, Portfolio Director of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, to find out how Welsh Government support through programmes is helping North Wales skill, upskill and re-skill, to fully realise the potential of every person and every enterprise across the region.
“Skilling couldn’t be a more important part of our economic ambition here in North Wales”
“Skilling couldn’t be a more important part of our economic ambition here in North Wales”, says Alwen. “We’re a highly diverse region, with many socio-economic and geographical challenges – and almost endless possibilities to bounce back and achieve even more, through both the major keystone capital projects that will create big job opportunities, and also the often-unseen work that’s been started to bring inclusive growth to the foundational economy that lies at the heart of every community.
“The chance for every organisation to identify the skills you have and the skills you need”
“Given that, it’s both reassuring and exciting to witness the amazing skills and advisory provision put in place by Skills Gateway. The We’re in Your Corner campaign is truly inspired, as it offers businesses genuinely bespoke advice and support, tailored to exact needs and circumstances. The whole ‘Prepare. Develop. Adapt’ approach means that any organisation, large or small, in any sector, can strengthen its workforce as change approaches. It’s the chance for every organisation in North Wales and throughout the country to identify the skills they have and the skills they need – to help them develop those competencies and that expertise within their current workforce, or give them all the support they need to recruit talented new staff into their organisation. That’s what being resilient and future-proofed is all about – and this gives employers and employees in Wales a real advantage, in what is obviously a changing world.”
“This is about economic inclusion – the opportunity for anyone of any age to skill or reskill for any role”
David Roberts, Chair of the North Wales Regional Skills Partnership, echoes those thoughts: “Above all, this service is about economic inclusion here in North Wales, with practical help for SMEs and larger companies in both the sunrise and more traditional industries. The pandemic reminded us that it’s the unsung roles that are often the most critical. This opportunity is for everyone, of any age, to skill and re-skill, for any role. It’s an opportunity for employers to grab the potential and talent of people leaving school or college, those with work and life experience who have been made redundant, or disabled people whose employment rates are traditionally significantly lower than non-disabled people.
‘My message is simple: make the most of this support’
Alwen stresses the importance of everyone grabbing the opportunity that this campaign offers: “Government services can sometimes seem remote to the person in the street or a small business tucked away on an industrial estate, but Skills Gateway is very practical, human and business-focused. Expert advisors are on hand to understand your needs, guide you in the right direction and help you shape your workforce so that you’re ready for the future and able to perform to your full potential. From my own time earlier in my career at BT and Openreach, I’ve seen at first hand the incredible impact that training, continual professional development and planning for the future can bring to an organisation, a community and to Wales itself. So my message to every employer, employee and potential employee in North Wales is a very positive one: make the most of this support, as it really can help transform individual lives, business performance, local economies and the future of Wales itself.”
For more information on the support available through Skills Gateway, head to We're in your corner | Business Wales Skills Gateway (gov.wales) or call 03000 6 03000 to speak with a Business Wales advisor.