Guest Blog from Arwen Watkins, Cambrian Training Company
Thank you for the positive feedback to my speech at the Mid Wales Tourism and Hospitality Conference at the Metropole Hotel and Spa, Llandrindod Wells on November 9.
Your responses have underlined how urgently the compulsory education system in Wales must change. It’s quite simply unsustainable to keep sending the most talented young people in Wales off to universities across the UK without reference to the skills needed by employers now and in the future to underpin our economy.
We must direct our young people to the sectors where their skills are urgently needed. There has been a disconnect between schools and employers, education and training for far too long. Hopefully, the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, which aims to govern all post-16 education and training, will helo to provide a remedy.
I was delighted to read a reply by Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, to a question by North Wales MS Sam Rowlands in the Senedd last week. He said the new Commission aims to make parity of esteem between apprenticeships and degrees a reality.
Sixth forms will be brought within the control of the new Commission and the Minister says it will change the relationship between schools and post-16 providers. “It will provide opportunities, I think, for learners at all parts of their journey to have in mind throughout the equal weight that they should be giving to vocational routes post 16,” he said. This is music to my ears.
The bill to create the Commission is expected to become law next summer. I think the new body will be in a much better position to respond to national and regional learning priorities based on evidence to fit the actual needs of the economy
From the feedback to my speech, it is clear that many tourism and hospitality businesses don’t fully understand apprenticeships. There was surprise that apprenticeships are open to people aged from 16 to 65 and that an apprentice doesn’t have to be unemployed when you recruit him or her; they can already be employed in your business.
The Apprenticeship Programme aims to provide apprentices with the skills, knowledge and experience in the workplace to improve themselves and their employer’s business.
Now is the time to act if you are interested in either recruiting apprentice or upskilling an existing member of staff aged between 16 and 24 years. The Welsh Government has relaxed the rules that apply to Hospitality and Catering Apprenticeships until the end of the year, so there is no time to waste.
Please contact the team at Cambrian Training who will talk you through the process. The contact email is: email@example.com
The Welsh Government is offering apprenticeship incentives until February 28 next year, which include up to £4,000 for an apprentice aged 16 to 24 and up to £2,000 for an apprentice aged 25 and over. Payments are restricted to 10 learners per business and the incentives do not apply to degree apprenticeships.
There is an additional incentive payment for employing disabled people, with £1,500 for each new apprentice recruited.
Independent research has proven that apprenticeships:
For those of you who were unable attend the conference, I’ll do a quick recap of the topics I covered:
I asked all delegates to stand up and remain standing if they currently employ or have in the past employed an apprentice. Only six delegates remained standing, which shows we need to do to better job at informing you about the benefits of apprenticeships.
Businesses across Mid Wales are having to reduce their operational hours not because of a shortage of staff rather than a shortage of customers
I asked businesses to put pressure on politicians at all levels to challenge the compulsory education system and to develop innovative ways of engaging with primary and secondary schools to make children aware of exciting career opportunities within the hospitality and tourism sector.
I said it would be great to see governing bodies, school leaders, teachers and career advisors giving the same support to students to complete an apprenticeship application as they do to completing a UCAS form.
I challenged employers to create apprenticeship opportunities at the same time as students are considering their school options.
I expressed concern about how much longer businesses can operate with a staff shortage before they become unsustainable.
Significant investment in Powys and Ceredigion planned over the next decade
has the potential to be a regional economic “gamechanger”, with projects likely to impact positively on the visitor economy which will require a highly skilled workforce
Cambrian Training Company has a minimum of £1.8 million available annually for the next five to seven years to deliver apprenticeships within Powys and Ceredigion.
I pledged to secure additional funding for the tourism, the most economically important sector in Mid Wales, if there is demand from you, as businesses, to make the Apprenticeship Programme one of the solutions to your skills and staffing crisis.
To be at its best, the tourism and hospitality sector needs higher level skilled individuals and teams.
Anthony Rosser, operations director at Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, endorsed the value of apprenticeships, saying: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for employees to receive structured training, very beneficial for recruitment, staff retention and progression, helps to drive up standards within your business and is easy to organise and administer.”
Anthony employs 13 apprentices aged from 17 to mid-40s. Why not follow his example and either recruit an apprentice or upskill an existing employee to grow your business? The next step is up to you.
- Job Vacancies