Conference to Highlight Importance of Skills to the Welsh Economy

Posted on by karen.smith

Arwyn Watkins

The importance of an effective skills system to underpin economic growth is the focus of this year’s National Training Federation for Wales Annual Conference, which is spread over two days for the first time.

The conference, to be held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 24 and 25, is being combined with the National Training Awards and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which are being organised by the Welsh Government and NTfW and this year include Traineeships and Steps to Employment learners.

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 conference theme ‘Shaping the Future Workforce’ aims to explore ways of raising the standards of skills and upskilling businesses by working in collaboration.

NTfW chief executive Arwyn Watkins said: “If we are to deliver high level skills to underpin the Welsh economy, then we as training providers also need to improve the skills of our own workforce.”

Keynote speakers include Scott Waddington, Wales Commissioner to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, who will speak about shared investment in skills and Deputy Minister for Skills Jeff Cuthbert. Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales, 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 and Lord Ted Rowlands, NTfW’s president, will give a conference overview.

Mr Watkins will lead one of a series of workshops on the first day, titled ‘A level playing field’, which aims to identify where closer collaboration and partnership working could assist the NTfW network to address future challenges.

The other workshops consider regulation of the wider education workforce with Helen Arthur from the Welsh Government, raising the levels of literacy and numeracy with Gill Sims from Estyn supported by NTfW vice chairman Sheridan Jeffery, developing higher level skills in the workforce with Dr Barrie Kennard of Leadership and Management Wales and shaping bilingualism in the workplace with Ryan Evans, NTfW’s bilingual champion.

The National Training Awards and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at an evening ceremony on October 24 at the same venue, are designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers. The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are sponsored by Pearson and the National Training Awards sponsor is City & Guilds. Media partner for the awards and conference is Media Wales.

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

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