An organisation that represents more than 70 quality assured work-based learning providers with links to thousands of employers across Wales has warmly welcomed a £40m skills and jobs fund announced by the Welsh Government.
The National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) says it will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government to deliver the support package, which includes more apprenticeships, traineeships, redundancy support and retraining programmes.
The Welsh Government has pledged to support everyone to find work, education or training or help to start their own business to help Wales recover from coronavirus. The mission is to “build back better and ensure no one is left behind”.
At the heart of the new funding is a pledge that everyone over 16 will receive the assistance they need to access advice and support to find work or to pursue self-employment or to find and take up a place in education or training.
The Welsh Government’s Employability and Skills support will help employers to take on new workers, with incentives for recruiting apprentices and young people. It will also help adults overcome barriers in both maintaining and gaining work with a focus on Wales’ growth sectors.
The plan includes an emphasis on achieving better outcomes for people who will be affected most by the economic downturn, including the disabled, those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women and those with low skills and on low wages.
The Welsh Government says the support will be crucial in helping to address an expected rise in unemployment and the risk of deepening economic inequality caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jeff Protheroe, the NTfW’s director of operations, welcomed the additional funding.
“Although we wait to see the exact detail of what is being proposed, today's announcement is clearly a step in the right direction,” he said. “The additional funding will make a significant impact on those employers and individuals accessing the support.
“Wales already has in place some great programmes to support employability and skills including apprenticeships, traineeships and Jobs Growth Wales, all of which are delivered through our network of high quality providers.
“What has been put forward today will ensure that there is not only a safety net for all those individuals at risk, but also a springboard for those who wish to secure a better future, as part of Wales's wider economic recovery plan.
“We know that young people are already being adversely affected by the current economic climate and, unless there is government intervention, this will create another ‘lost generation'.
“The Welsh Government has put forward its intention and our provider network is ready to support and deliver. We now need employers and individuals to take advantage of this support package, so that we can all work together to ensure that ‘Team Wales' can rebound from the current economic situation.
“Apprenticeships, traineeships and the Jobs Growth Wales programme all have demonstrable benefits for employers and individuals alike. We urge all who are eligible for support to access these programmes and benefit from their success.
“The NTfW and its members will continue to work with the Welsh Government to ensure that every penny of this additional funding is put to good effect, and that every employer or individual looking for support gets the service and outcome they deserve.
Businesses can discover how they can benefit from taking on an apprentice or upskilling their current workforce by registering their interest at https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/apprenticeships or by calling 03301 228 338 for more information.