As part of its response to Covid-19, the Welsh Government is ramping up its support for people affected by redundancy, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said.
A new campaign, launched today through Working Wales, will promote the tailored support available to people who have lost their job or are at risk of doing so, and will help them seek new opportunities.
The coronavirus pandemic has placed incredible challenges and pressures on businesses and workers, not just in Wales, but across the world.
In August, the Welsh Government announced a £40m jobs and skills package which will provide help for anyone who needs it to find work, education or training or to start their own business at this challenging time. This will be key in helping Wales recover from the pandemic and ensure no one is left behind.
Working Wales is funded by the Welsh Government and European Social Fund and delivered by Careers Wales. The service offers a range of support – from developing and updating skills and confidence boosting to help with health issues or childcare – which can be shaped to meet individual needs.
Jonathan Rew-Dixon, 48, from Anglesey is one of many who have already benefitted from Working Wales’ support. He received help and advice from Working Wales earlier this year after being made redundant just as coronavirus hit the UK in March.
After 25 years working for an insurance firm, Jonathan wanted a change but felt he needed more transferrable skills. Working Wales helped him get the training he needed to find his new role in compliance.
Jonathan said: “The firm I worked for closed down my office in March. I knew my redundancy was coming and I’d had some positive conversations with other companies, but that all dried up when the UK went into lockdown. None of the firms I’d talked to could commit to hiring anyone new.
“Losing my job in an already uncertain time was worrying. My wife was very supportive and understanding, but I didn’t know how long it was going to last and I was worried my age might act as a barrier to me finding work. I found myself just wandering around the house worrying about how long I would be unemployed for.
“But, after 25 years working for insurance firms, I also saw redundancy as an opportunity to try something a bit different so I contacted Working Wales to find out more about my options. I’d done some project management in my previous role and thought that was something I’d like to do more of. I just worried I wouldn’t have the right skills or qualifications to get a job.
“My Working Wales adviser, Helen, was fantastic. She talked me through my options, helped with the paper work and enrolled me in four online training courses on project management, which ran from May to August, to get me up to speed. The courses were fantastic and completely paid for, which was a big help.”
Completing the training gave Jonathan the confidence to apply for a wider range of jobs, and he was offered his new role in compliance in July.
Jonathan continued: “I love my new job, I’m enjoying the challenge and seeing how things are done from another perspective. It’s full-on but very interesting, I actually enjoy it more than my old job. The fact that I managed to find a role so quickly just shows that companies are still hiring, and if you have the right skills then you’re well placed to get one of those jobs.
“The person who hired me said my new qualifications were one of the reasons why I got the job. To anyone who’s worried about their employment, or who has been made redundant during the pandemic, I can’t recommend Working Wales enough.”
Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said: “Although our unemployment rate in Wales remains below that of the wider UK, we know the pandemic is having an impact.
“Our Economic Resilience Fund has so far helped to protect more than 100,000 jobs and provided nearly £300 million of financial support to 13,000 businesses. But these are incredibly difficult times, and some businesses are now having to make difficult decisions, and those decisions affect their workers and livelihoods.
“That’s why Welsh Government has committed to supporting people, like Jonathan, who have lost their job or are at risk of doing so.
“We are living in incredible difficult and uncertain times, but we will continue to back our businesses, our workers and our communities.”
To help ensure people understand the help that is out for them if they are made redundant, adverts will be running on TV, radio and social media over the coming weeks.
To find out more, contact Working Wales on 0800 028 4844 or go to https://workingwales.gov.wales/.