A new Welsh Government plan to help more people in Wales to find and stay in work has been unveiled today by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.
The new Plan for Employability and Skills sets out the actions Ministers will take to deliver the Young Persons Guarantee, support people furthest away from the Labour market to find work – and focus on improving labour market outcomes for disabled people, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people, women, and those with low skills.
It also sets out measures to help people stay in work, through raising skills levels and preventing people from not taking up work or falling out of employment because of a health condition.
The Minister said the plan will help pave the way for a fairer, more equitable Wales where nobody is left behind or held back, helping to change people’s lives for the better.
The new plan sets out five key areas of action over this government term, which will propel Wales towards meeting the Welsh Government’s longer term milestones.
The five areas include:
- Delivering a Young Person’s Guarantee – in order to protect a generation from the impacts of lost learning and delayed labour market entry, and to help make Wales a place where more young people feel confident in planning their future.
- Tackling economic inequality – by shifting the focus of employability programmes to helping those furthest away from the Labour market to find work, and improving labour market outcomes for disabled people, Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people, women, and those with low skills. This includes building on the successful community based approach in partnership with Local Authorities.
- Promoting Fair Work for all – by using the levers available to the Welsh Government to improve the offer for workers, and encouraging employers to make work better, fairer and more secure.
- More support for people with a long term health conditions to work – better anchoring the health service both as an employer and part of the delivery network to prevent people falling out of work, or getting into employment because of a health condition.
- Raising skill levels and adaptability of the workforce – by expanding flexible and personal learning opportunities for people in and out of work so they have the chance to improve their skills, find work or retrain throughout their lives.
As part of the plan the Welsh Government will work with its partners to help ensure that 90% of 16-24 year olds in Wales will be in education, employment, or training by 2050. It will also work to eliminate the pay gap for women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, and disabled people and eradicate the gap in the employment rate between Wales and the UK with a particular focus on under-represented groups.
Launching the new plan, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:
“Our new Employability Plan sets out our vision for a fairer and more equal Wales, where we work to ensure nobody is left behind or held back, and with a commitment to changing people’s lives for the better.
“Through the plan we want to lift people out of poverty and help everyone – particularly those furthest from the labour market – to navigate and respond to the work related challenges they will face throughout their lives, whether that is through training, retraining, upskilling, changing career or starting a business. It will build on the significant labour market and skills improvement in Wales since publication of the last plan in 2018.
“It will also help us meet the skills required by Welsh businesses by driving workforce diversity, making the most of our talent in Wales, and shaping an economy that works for everyone.
“Let’s be clear, we can’t fully replace the missing millions lost through the fact that the UK Government has not kept its funding promises to Wales following EU Exit, although we have prioritised budgets to smooth the transition and to boost our investment in people and skills.
“We will continue to press the UK government to back our Team Wales’ ambitions to invest in the talent of our people and restore Wales’ lost £1 billion.”
To support the plan, last week we extended the Childcare Offer so parents can be supported to undertake education and training.
The Minister is today announcing the launch of Jobs Growth Wales+ – a £200m programme specifically for young people. This will replace the Welsh Government’s existing Jobs Growth Wales and Traineeship programmes.
Under Jobs Growth Wales+, young people will receive individualised support to equip them with the skills, qualifications and experience to find a job and remain in employment.
Flexibility and tailored support is at the heart of the new programme and contractors will work with young people to make sure they have everything they need to access opportunities, including flexible training hours, as well as help with travel, childcare costs and specialised equipment.
Wage subsidies of up to 50% of the first six months’ wages, and on-the-job training will be available for businesses employing young people aged 16-18 through the scheme.
In the coming weeks, the Welsh Government will also launch ReAct+ – a new programme to upskill and support young people who are not currently in education, training or employment, and unemployed adults, into work.
Both new programmes are part of the Welsh Government’s ambitious Young Person’s Guarantee, which brings together a wide range of programmes designed to provide the right support for young people across Wales.
The Minister said:
“Supporting Welsh businesses to adapt, grow their workforce and develop skills for the future will be essential.
“These new programmes have been designed to help businesses with recruitment and workforce planning, creating more job opportunities in the sectors we need to grow, while supporting young people on their journey into employment. Importantly, they form part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, to ensure no young person in Wales misses out on the opportunity of a fulfilling career as a result of the pandemic.”
Welcoming the new this week, Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said:
“We welcome the Welsh Government’s new Plan for Employability and Skills, helping people of all backgrounds and abilities to find and stay in work.
“We repeatedly hear from businesses about the difficulties of recruiting suitable staff, with a skills deficit often acting as a barrier. Preliminary results from our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q1 indicate that 45% of businesses in Wales attempted to recruit over the past three months, with 65% of these experiencing difficulties recruiting skilled staff in particular.
“The plan’s five key areas of action, in addition to schemes for young people like Jobs Growth Wales+ and ReAct+ with training and upskilling at their heart, will be a boost for businesses who are recruiting and wish to retain skilled employees in the long term.”