The Welsh Government today pledged to support everyone to find work, education or training or help to start their own business as it launched a £40m skills and jobs fund.
The ambitious fund is part of a longer-term plan to help Wales recover from coronavirus; to build back better and ensure no one is left behind.
Today’s announcement builds on a £50m package for skills and learning targeted towards higher and further education unveiled by Education Minister Kirsty Williams last week.
At the heart of the new funding is a pledge that everyone over 16 will receive the assistance they need to access advice and support to find work or to pursue self-employment or to find and take up a place in education or training.
More support for apprenticeships will be available, together with traineeships, redundancy assistance, retraining programmes and careers advice – all will be crucial in helping to address an expected rise in unemployment and the risk of deepening economic inequality caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance Minister and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans said:
“Coronavirus threatens to severely affect all the progress we’ve made in reducing unemployment and economic inactivity in Wales over the last decade.
“This £40m investment in jobs and skills will be vital in helping soften the impact of the pandemic and will be key to driving our economic recovery.
“As we work to recover from the impact of pandemic, we want to ensure our economy emerges stronger, fairer, greener, more agile and more productive than before. Ultimately we want to build back better – for this to happen, people and businesses need support to face the challenges and pressures coronavirus has placed on them.”
The Welsh Government’s Employability and Skills support will help employers to take on new workers, with incentives for recruiting apprentices and young people. It will also help adults overcome barriers in both maintaining and gaining work with a focus on Wales’ growth sectors.
The plan includes an emphasis on achieving better outcomes for people who will be affected most by the economic downturn, including disabled people, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women, and those with low skills and on low wages.
The £40m package will provide:
Economy Minister, Ken Skates said:
“We have already provided Welsh business with the most generous package of support in the UK, which has been crucial in helping them through the crisis.
“Today’s announcement goes a step further and supports our workforce. This £40m package will help incentivise employers to take on and train new workers, including apprentices and young people. It will also help employers to retain and reskill the existing workforce and support individuals looking for work to secure employment or start up their own businesses.
“We are doing everything we can to drive our economic recovery. I now call on our employers to take advantage of the incentives we’re putting in place and play their part in providing quality job and training opportunities right across Wales.”