£45m funding package aimed at addressing skills shortages and help small businesses grow across Wales
A £45m package of funding aiming to help small businesses across Wales to grow and support thousands of people to train to work in key sectors is being made available.
The support, part of which is targeted at addressing some of the pressing skills shortages currently challenging sectors such as logistics and hospitality as well as supporting businesses in the move to decarbonise, comes at a critical juncture as Welsh businesses begin efforts to re-build and grow following the challenges of the Covid pandemic.
As part of the package, £35m will help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Wales relaunch, develop, decarbonise and grow to help drive Wales’ economic recovery.
It’s expected the funding will support around 1,000 business, helping them to create 2,000 new jobs and safeguard a further 4,000 jobs.
In a joint initiative between the Economy Minister and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, an additional £10m is being made available to boost Wales’ Personal Learning Accounts.
The Welsh Government say the investment will allow local colleges to deliver additional courses and qualifications to support 2,000 people to access a wider range of job opportunities and increase their earning potential in priority sectors. These include:
- Logistics (in particular HGV and LGV driving) including driver licence fees and tests. Funding will be targeted at driver training by offering courses to new potential drivers, provide refresher training for those who may be seeking a return to the sector; and to train and increase the number of instructors and examiners available to conduct driving tests;
- Green construction and renewable energy – including roles in housing retrofit, and in wind, tidal and solar power sectors;
- Advanced Materials and manufacturing – including technical engineers;
- Hospitality – including chefs, catering assistants, waiting and front of house staff;
- Health and social care – including support to re-engage and retrain former Health and Social Care employees back into the sector and meet the new licence to practice requirements.
Ministers say the financial package will help support Wales’ economy through the winter months.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The £45m package I’m announcing today is being delivered at a critical time in our economic recovery.
“It provides an opportunity to kick-start and grow the economy as we focus on creating a fairer, greener and prosperous future for Wales.
“The funding will offer businesses who need to re-invest – particularly following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, our departure from the EU, and with a view to climate and Covid proofing – the opportunity to do so, in order to relaunch, develop and grow.
“We’re doing all we can to build a Wales with a prosperous, fair, green economy, where nobody is held back or left behind.”
Education Minister Jeremy Miles added: “Personal Learning Accounts give people the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to make progress in their career.
“I’m pleased we have secured an additional £10m to boost this initiative.
“This will provide opportunities for people to retrain and increase their earning potential in areas of the economy we know are under extreme pressure – including health and social care, training for HGV drivers, hospitality and green construction.”
The £35m funding for SMEs is the next phase of the Welsh Government’s approach to economic recovery and a step towards “re-establishing resilience” within the Welsh economy and continued decarbonisation of Wales’ business sector.
Administered by local authorities, it provides an opportunity to kick-start and grow the economy following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s departure from the EU.
Businesses will be invited to identify ways in which investment will help them re-launch their business, develop it in innovative new ways, and create new jobs.
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