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Upskilling the Current Workforce has Never Been so Important


Following the release of ‘A Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales’, The Welsh Governments plan for employability and skills, Business News Wales spoke with Sian Lloyd Roberts, Regional Skills Manager from Ambition North Wales about her views on the current situation within the skills and employability landscape across Wales and North Wales.

Sian’s Interview Highlights:

 The Plan looks at the issues that we need to tackle at a Pan Wales level when it comes to skills and employability.

  • The focus of the plan is to tackle economic inactivity and get underrepresented groups back into the workforce.
  • In North Wales, we're obviously considering the high-level plan and what that actually means for us in terms of the labour market here in North Wales and what interventions we need to put in place, to look at how we can tackle those challenges for employers.
  • I think it's clear that employers will have to work even harder in 2022 to both find and keep staff.
  • One of the biggest issues for employers at the moment is around labour shortages across all sectors. There is a high level of job vacancies at the moment, way above even pre-pandemic level
  • This is down to many issues such as Brexit, but also people deciding to leave the labour market completely due to things like changing views in terms of what's priorities are as a result of COVID.
  • This is particularly noticed within older workers who have actually decided as a result of COVID to go into early retirement.
  • This means employers need to look even harder to attract and retain staff and focussing on job quality, fair wages and advertising jobs to be as flexible as possible.
  • Employers, really need to invest in staff development and upskilling their current workforce. It's never been so important. This is not only to broaden the range of candidates that employers can attract, but it also addresses the skills gaps by training existing staff.
  • Trends and key themes that we see at the moment are digital skills, in particular and the digital sector has been highlighted as a cross-sector for future skills needs and demands.
  • COVID led to a transformation in how we work and has forced us to learn new skills overnight. This has led to a digital transformation which has exposed skills gaps and basic digital skills, particularly in areas such as coding, social digital marketing and cyber security.
  • We're also seeing green jobs on the rise within the economy. The low carbon transition will require adapting and changing existing sectors and industries, but also creating new occupations, requiring new skills. So, for example, from retrofitting skills in the construction sector to wind turbines for offshore wind, there is a need to upscale and reskill.
  • Another theme that's been highlighted that really needs to be tackled in the region is leadership and management skills, across all sectors. A lot of businesses are telling us that there's a huge need for those leadership and management skills across all sectors.