Julie James AM – Welsh Labour Minister for Skills and Science

Skills for a Growing Economy

Julie James AM – Welsh Labour Minister for Skills and Science

Knocking on doors around my constituency of Swansea West during this general election its clear what the number one issue is - jobs.

As Skills Minister in the Welsh Labour Government I’m proud of the record we have in this area. In the last Assembly term (2011-2016) our interventions supported nearly 150,000 jobs in the Welsh economy. Programmes which we put in place to support those at risk of, or facing redundancy at the time of the economic crash such as ProAct and ReAct have been a quiet success story. Our major youth employment programme Jobs Growth Wales has supported over 17,000 young people into work and become the template for similar interventions elsewhere.

As a result of these measures, economic inactivity in Wales is falling faster than across the UK, employment is rising at one of the fastest rates of any nation or region across the country and inward investment is at record levels.

However, as a Welsh Labour party we set out our stall at last years Assembly election on a platform of Better Jobs Closer to Home because we knew that more needed to be done. Despite our successes, too many people are not progressing in training through the workplace, job insecurity is still a major problem and parts of the country, such as the Heads of the Valleys, are still seeing too little private sector investment. That’s why in government we are taking through an ambitious plan to drive forward skills and training right across Wales.

For those economically inactive there will be a new, joined up Employability Programme that will bring all of our skills interventions into one single programme. From the individual out of the labour market for many years to the young 18 year old with qualifications in need of a little work experience to get them started in their careers, a new employment advice service will shape support around the individual, not individuals around programmes.

For those needing employment closer to where they live, we are developing a Better Jobs Closer to Home programme designed to utilise procurement in a more creative way and ensure more of the benefits of public spending stay in local communities. Four pilot projects are underway to ensure that supported employment is created in areas where we know there is a need for more and better jobs.

For those needing higher skills we are taking forward our commitment to create 100,000 all age apprenticeships this term that will support individuals into growing sectors and help our economy and businesses get the skills they need to expand. Our five year apprenticeship action plan (2016-2022) focuses on four priority areas:

  • Increasing the number of apprentices aged 16-19by increasing the take-up of quality apprenticeships amongst school leavers.
  • Addressing skills shortagesby developing apprenticeships particularly in growth and emerging sectors.
  • Developing higher level skillsby focussing on apprenticeships at level 4 and above where returns tend to be higher. 
  • Developing skills pathwaysby integrating apprenticeships into the wider education system and making it easier for someone to enter into an apprenticeship from another learning route.

The plan takes into account the Apprenticeship Levy launched this April. As a Welsh Labour Government we have not changed our view that the Apprenticeship Levy is fundamentally flawed and directly conflicts with areas of devolved responsibility. We will not be implementing the Levy as it is in England through vouchers as we have seen no evidence that such system would improve the quality of provision.

Our apprenticeships and skills interventions are all being developed in close collaboration with the three Regional Skills Partnerships we have set up. The data they collect about local skills needs allow us to work with Further Education Colleges and businesses to ensure we are developing provision in the areas that our economy needs.

We are also working through the recommendations of the Hazelkorn Review to establish a new single regulatory oversight and co-ordinating authority for the post-compulsory education sector which will be responsible for funding at all levels and be the lead funder of research. It forms part of our commitment as a Welsh Labour Government to ensure parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes through education.

No selection and no grammar schools in Wales – we believe in a fair deal for everyone.

In addition to this, we are also taking forward a proposal to establish a Fair Work Commission to look at the future of our labour market and help stimulate the creation of more good jobs. The Commission will build on the good work we have already done as a Welsh Labour Government to make work fairer by delivering a two-tier code, issuing guidance and principles on the use of non-guaranteed hour contracts, and launching a new Code of Practice for Ethical Procurement in Supply Chains to guarantee good employment practices for the employees involved in public sector supply chains.

As a devolved administration, there will be a Labour Government running skills and training in Wales after 9th June whatever the result. What this election gives us is the opportunity to put a UK Labour Government in power at Westminster that can work in a stronger partnership with Wales.

A partnership that would see Labour’s proposal for a UK Investment Bank work with our new Development Bank of Wales to support greater investment in infrastructure, the economy and people right across Wales.

A new partnership that would create better jobs closer to home.

welsh dragon

Julie James AM – Welsh Labour Minister for Skills and Science

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 5 hours 12 minutes ago

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin |...

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin | 3rd Aug

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page