Conference to focus on work-based learning’s key role in economic generation

Posted on by karen.smith

It’s time for the work-based learning sector to confidently take its place at the centre of the economic regeneration agenda in Wales, delegates to a major conference will be told later this month.

‘Building sustainable futures for all’ is the theme of this year’s National Training Federation for Wales’ (NTfW) annual conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on October 31.

The conference comes at a time when work-based learning providers are facing a cultural shift from supply-led to demand-driven training programmes. The Welsh Government is placing more emphasis on securing co-investment and stability for skills investment based on economic and business demand.

The NTfW is a network of more than 100 quality assured work-based learning providers with 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.

“It is widely recognised that the work-based learning sector in Wales has made significant strides over recent years in relation to transformation, quality of delivery and overall responsiveness to meet the ever increasing demands of individuals, employers and policy makers,” said Jeff Protheroe, the NTfW’s operations manager. “However, the challenges ahead of the sector in the next few years remain as stretching as ever.

“As the sector begins to gear itself up to deliver a more simplified and streamlined model of delivery that will avoid the issues of duplication and competition, it is now time that the work-based learning sector in Wales confidently takes its place at the centre of the economic regeneration agenda and delivers a more coherent and integrated portfolio of programmes at national, regional and local level, which builds sustainable futures for all.”

Work-based learning providers will be keen to hear what new Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James has to say in her first major speech to the sector since taking over the post from Ken Skates last month.

Other keynote speakers are the NTfW’s chief executive Arwyn Watkins, Andy Middleton, social entrepreneur and founder director of TYF Group, Professor Brian Morgan, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Met University and director of its Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre (CLEC) and Andrew Clark, deputy director of the Welsh Government’s Further Education and Apprenticeships Division.

Delegates will be able to attend a series of workshops during the afternoon led by senior staff from the Welsh Government. Speakers include Marion Jebb, head of post-16 quality and data management, Marilyn Wood, senior quality and effectiveness policy manager, Kara Richards, head of the youth engagement branch, Nick Srdic, head of the youth employment branch, Mike Hatcher, head of the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification and skills and Hazel Israel, senior manager for Welsh Baccalaureate and essential skills.

Other workshop leaders are Leon Patnett, Careers Wales’ head of policy for service to clients in the labour market and Ryan Evans, the NTfW’s bilingual champion.

The conference precedes the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru presentation dinner. The awards are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the NTfW. Both the conference and the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales.

Conference tickets can be booked online at or contact Karen Smith, the NTfW’s communications and marketing manager, on Tel: 02920 495861.

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