THE ANNOUNCEMENT of a new £111 million fund for apprenticeships must be followed by a sector-specific plan as to where this training will be targeted, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru has said, in response to the Welsh Government’s newly published budget.
Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s announcement of a new £111 million apprenticeship fund, aimed at creating 100,000 all-age apprenticeships. Now it is important that the Welsh Government focuses on the task of allocating those funds to training in industries where skilled workers are most needed and where the impact will be most beneficial for the wider economy. For that reason, it would be helpful to provide a sector break down of where these 100,000 apprenticeships will be created, so that key industries and businesses can plan ahead.”
Glyn concluded: “In particular, the construction industry is still waiting on a clear skills strategy from the Welsh Government. Our sector is already suffering from an enormous talent shortage, and this is only likely to worsen as the Welsh Government embarks on its drive to build more homes in addition to the obvious pressures that will be created by major infrastructure projects such as the new Wylfa nuclear power plant. Businesses need to know whether the projected number of construction apprenticeships to be funded will be adequate to plug this skills gap. At a time of continued reductions in UK-wide spending and economic uncertainty in the wake of Brexit, creating jobs with a virtual guarantee of high value, well paid employment that will help generate activity throughout the Welsh economy is a no brainer. Few industries are better placed to provide such opportunities than construction. This is something which we hope the Welsh Government recognises.”