Commissioner to call on Welsh Employers to invest in skills

Posted on by karen.smith

Scott Waddington

Wales Commissioner to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Scott Waddington, is a man with an important mission: to get more employers to invest in the skills of their people to drive up enterprise, jobs and growth.

Mr Waddington, who is also chief executive of successful Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain and Co Ltd, will call on NTfW members to be responsive to the needs of Welsh businesses when he addresses the National Training Federation for Wales’ Annual Conference at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 24.

The NTfW is a network of 116 quality assured workplace learning providers, which has links to 35,000 employers across Wales. Members range from small specialist training providers to national and international companies, as well as local authorities, Further Education institutions and third sector organisations.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a social partnership, led by commissioners from large and small employers, trade unions and the voluntary sector.

Mr Waddington, appointed Wales Commissioner in April, explained: “I see my role as being a spokesperson, feeding back the views and issues facing employers, trainers and others in Wales to make sure the Commission’s proposals on employment and skills are fit for Wales.

“The UK Employer Skills Survey, published in May this year, revealed that whilst the majority of businesses do invest in their people’s skills, there is significant scope for improvement. More than 40% of businesses in the UK did not invest in training over the past 12 months, although this varies hugely between sectors.

“There is compelling evidence that businesses that don’t train their staff are twice as likely to fail as those that do. Businesses that invest in skills not only improve their bottom line but also the health of the nation.”

The UK Commission is now questioning why people don’t have the skills needed by employers to support business growth. One in three vacancies in the UK for trades including electricians, plumbers and chefs are hard to fill because of skill shortages among applicants.

“There are radical proposals for England on Apprenticeships and other vocational training to award grants and loans direct to employers, rather than via providers,” said Mr Waddington. “These grants or loans would be matched by investment from employers.

“Although there is pressure for Wales and other nations to follow suit, we are observing intently from the sidelines at this stage.”

Mr Waddington will be presenting the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards and National Training Awards ceremony to be held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday night.

Other speakers at the two-day conference are Deputy Minister for Skills Jeff Cuthbert, Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales, who will speak about the value of world class competitions, Huw Evans, chair of Project Board for the Review of Qualifications 14-19 in Wales, who will give a review progress report, Lord Ted Rowlands, NTfW’s president and Arwyn Watkins, NTfW chief executive.

To book a place at the two-day conference contact Karen Smith, NTfW’s general manager, on Tel: 029 2061 8228 or e-mail:

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