At today’s Senedd Plenary, the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales was asked what support Welsh Government is offering to apprentices and those taking part in work based learning whose placements have been affected by Covid19.
In response to the question posed by Suzy Davies MS of the Welsh Conservative Party, Ken Skates MS confirmed that:
- apprenticeship providers have been supported throughout the March to July period on the basis of average payments;
- providers have developed online learning modules to ensure that apprentices have been able to progress with their learning; and that
- WG have worked with providers and stakeholders to develop a published Covid19 resilience plan for the post-16 sector.
Whilst acknowledging the importance of new apprentices and the part they will play in the economic recovery of Wales, the Minister was further asked how WG is ensuring that current apprentices are being supported to complete their apprenticeships and not face redundancy. He was too asked how employers are being supported to retain their talent on completion.
He confirmed that apprentices are being supported to continue through frameworks. He sighted Airbus as an example, where WG have been able to ensure that the scheme has continued as planned, with staggered start dates and reduced class sizes. WG are also looking at a funding package to extend the training of Year 3.
Referencing redundant apprentices, the Minister said that employers should make their best endeavours to ensure that they find alternative employment. WG will be monitoring and analysing data and will consider any interventions and support that is required.
He further added that the additional £40m from the Economic Resilience Fund to support individuals in terms of training and employability will also be used to support redundant apprentices and to provide new opportunities to complete their training.
He confirmed that WG remain on target to create 100,000 all age apprenticeships in in this Assembly term and that this is a pledge they are proud to be able to commit to.
Jack Sargeant MS went on to ask what financial support could be available for apprentices.
The Minister said they had one of the highest success rates in Europe on apprenticeship provision which demonstrates the value of the system. He noted many pressures on budgets as restrictions are lifted but they will focus apprenticeship investment in areas of the economy best supporting the economy.