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£30 million boost for developing skills in South West Wales

A £30 million Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme for South West Wales has been approved by the UK Government and Welsh Government. The regional programme will provide opportunities for thousands of people to access skills opportunities and will support businesses to grow through developing a talented workforce across the Swansea Bay Region focussing on industries with high demand for workers.

Opportunities will be aligned to areas of growth and regional strengths such as the digital, construction, energy, health and wellbeing and smart manufacturing sectors with opportunities for upskilling the current workforce as well as preparing the next generation for jobs of the future in the locality.

Over the next decade the Skills and Talent programme aims to deliver 2,200 additional skills and development opportunities by helping around 14,000 people upskill. Additionally, at least 3000 new apprenticeship opportunities will be created. The programme will also create centres of excellence within the focus sectors to develop the region as being the “best area” to learn the skill.

In partnership with training providers across the region including Local Authorities, Schools, Colleges, Universities and businesses, the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership will lead the programme to identify skill gaps in relation to local industry needs, and education and training solutions will put in place to meet these demands, with the aim to create a clear pathway from school education through to employment. Investment will be made in course frameworks to ensure there is a match with training needs for future job opportunities.

The skill requirements and training will also be closely aligned with other City Deal projects that are currently in procurement or in the delivery stage to maximise job opportunities for people across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, County of Swansea, and Neath Port Talbot.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said “The Skills and Talent programme will underpin the other eight projects and programmes across the whole City Deal portfolio by mapping the skills gaps and analysing the training needs for the City Deal projects. Identifying the skills gaps across the five main themes – construction, digital, energy, health and wellbeing and smart manufacturing – will help us to shape and deliver the skills needed for the future.

“Working collaboratively with stakeholders and partners we will deliver the training and upskilling required, particularly with schools across the region to highlight opportunities and develop clear pathways for our young people so that they can make the right choices for their future. We will also establish Centres of Excellence that will create a legacy for the programme and establish the region as the best place to learn specific sector skills.

“The most crucial part of the programme is the opportunities it will provide students, employees and employers to grow and be part of our regional economy. It will support the development of individuals through learning new skills, apprenticeships, course frameworks and provide career pathways from school education, to further and higher education and into employment.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, added, “This approval means eight of the nine City Deal projects and programmes have now been approved for the benefit of residents and businesses throughout the City Region.

“The skills and talent programme is a key feature of the major investment as it will put pathways in place for local people to access thousands of well-paid jobs in sectors like life sciences, renewable energy and digital innovation.

“This is important as it will boost regional prosperity, while encouraging more young people from our region to pursue careers right here in South West Wales instead of moving elsewhere.

“Many projects being part-funded by the City Deal are also now under way, which will help accelerate our region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said, “In a rapidly changing economic landscape, it’s vital we provide high-quality opportunities for workers in Wales to gain the skills and experiences they need for the jobs of today and the challenges of tomorrow. This will be key in helping Wales return to the levels of economic growth we enjoyed prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am delighted the Welsh Government is supporting the Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme, which will help create thousands of opportunities for people across South West Wales to upskill and retrain.

“The Welsh Government remains fully committed to doing everything possible to kick-start a strong Welsh recovery based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future.”

UK Government Minister in Wales, David TC Davies added, “I am delighted to approve this multi-million pound investment in the skills and talent of people in the Swansea Bay City Region. The UK Government is helping to train and retain local talent to work in the skilled and well-paid jobs that this City Deal is creating. Today’s announcement is especially great news for young people, who can look forward to more opportunities in the future”