A Real Buzz In The Work Based Learning Sector

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By Arwyn Watkins,
Chairman of the National Training Federation for Wales

There’s a real buzz in the work based learning sector in Wales this summer as training providers across the nation prepare for ‘skillscymru’, the largest ever careers and skills exhibition in Cardiff next month.

More than 20,000 people of all ages are expected to descend on the famous Millennium Stadium from September 16-18 seeking exciting new opportunities for the future. First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that people’s willingness to pursue new careers and gain new skills will be crucial in helping Wales break free from the strangling grip of recession.

As chairman of the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), I could not agree more. It’s imperative that the Welsh Assembly Government continues to invest in the future by encouraging people of all ages to develop world class skills. There has never been a better time to explore the options available and to take advantage of the all age apprenticeship programmes that are available in Wales.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that, whilst academic qualifications are welcomed, employers are now prioritising employees with vocational skills. It’s high time vocational qualifications are given parity with academic qualifications.

Equally important is finding a way to engage with young people not in education, employment or training, more commonly known as NEETS. With the recent economic downturn having had a huge effect on employment across the country and with numbers of NEETs a growing concern within Wales, ‘skillscymru’ – www.skillscymru.co.uk or www.sgiliaucymru.co.uk – could be just what is needed.

This new event will create the kind of vibrant and interactive atmosphere that should attract both the young and not so young. NTfW members promise a truly interactive experience to showcase the high quality opportunities that exist in Wales to enable learners to achieve competence based vocational qualifications that lead to employment.

There will be a wide range of demonstrations and master classes across most employment sectors and the emphasis will most definitely be on encouraging visitors to have a go. Whether you’re looking for a change of direction or a first career, you’ll be able to talk to real people doing real jobs and learn 10 new skills in a day!

‘skillscymru’ provides a fantastic opportunity to speak directly to learners who have made the choice to follow a vocational pathway into employment. Employers will also be there to discuss the skills sets required to secure employment.

My company, Cambrian Training Company, will be encouraging visitors to ‘Have a go’ with a range of interactive activities in the hospitality section. My staff and I are looking forward to providing information about apprenticeship programmes and further training while at work, as well as advice about careers in the hospitality sector in Wales.

We will also be promoting the latest addition to our environmentally friendly vehicle fleet, which will contain clues for a competition about lowering your carbon footprint when shopping, cooking and eating.

In partnership with a range of training providers across Wales, we are also arranging an exciting daily schedule for the True Taste trailer with activities such as smoothie making, cocktail shaking and our very own take on Saturday Kitchen’s omelette challenge, The Wynnstay Omelette Challenge.

All in all, there’s good reason to get excited about your future.

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