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Multi-million pound skills investment set to boost region

(Adobe Stock)

A £30 million programme that will equip thousands of local people with the skills they’ll need to access well-paid jobs in future could soon take another step forward.

Swansea Council’s Cabinet is meeting next week to consider approving the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Skills and Talent programme, which will benefit residents and businesses throughout South West Wales.

The Skills and Talent programme is aimed at identifying skills gaps throughout the Swansea Bay City Region and putting education and training solutions in place to meet the needs of both industry and other City Deal projects in the construction, health and well-being, smart manufacturing, digital and energy sectors.

An investment of up to £1.3 billion in nine major projects, the Swansea Bay City Deal will create over 9,000 high-quality jobs in coming years. Projects include the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District being led by Swansea Council which includes the Swansea Arena and a state-of-the-art office development on The Kingsway for tech, digital and creative sector businesses.

In the next decade, the Skills and Talent programme aims to deliver 2,200 additional skills while helping 14,000 people develop higher-level skills. At least 3,000 new apprenticeship opportunities will also be created, along with centres of excellence for skills training in identified sectors.

The Skills and Talent programme team will work closely with regional partners from the private sector, higher and further education, schools and the third sector. Over 20 new or updated courses will also be introduced throughout the City Region.

Subject to approval at all four regional councils, the Skills and Talent programme business case will then go to the City Deal’s Joint Committee for potential submission to the UK Government and Welsh Government for final sign-off.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The Skills and Talent programme is a key City Deal initiative because it’s vital that local people are given skills and training pathways to access the thousands of high-value jobs the investment will create.

“This will help retain talent in the region, while boosting our economic prosperity and helping attract further investment and well-paid jobs in future.

“The submission of its business case for approval is yet more progress for the City Deal, following-on from the sign-off of many other projects including the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District, with Swansea Arena construction work continuing at pace and work due to start this summer on the cutting-edge new office development on The Kingsway.

“Investment of this kind in both Swansea and throughout the region as a whole means South West Wales is well-placed to quickly recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”

The regional Skills and Talent programme is being led by Carmarthenshire County Council.

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire County Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.