£10m to help train up HGV drivers and other jobs hit by staff shortages in Wales

  • Report by ITV Cymru Wales' Katie Fenton

£10 million is being made available to help train people in jobs in Wales hit by labour shortages, including HGV lorry drivers and hospitality workers.

The Welsh Government said 2,000 people will be able to access more courses and qualifications at further education colleges to train in jobs that are struggling to recruit.

The funding is also being targeted to re-train staff to return to work in the NHS and in social care, as well as those in the hospitality sector. A portion of the money will also go to creating new jobs in green construction and renewable energy.

A further £35 million is being made available for small businesses in Wales to grow and decarbonise.

A portion of the money will also go to creating new jobs in green construction and renewable energy. Credit: ITV News Wales

Under the plan, the government says it will:

  • Create 2,000 new jobs

  • Support more than 1,000 businesses, in a bid to drive economic recovery forward

  • The money will also help towards safeguarding a further 4,000 jobs in the country

The announcement came as a jobs fair took place in Cardiff in a bid to encourage more people into the hospitality sector.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the industry accounted for 10% of the UK workforce, contributing to around £133.5bn to the economy.

Akeem, who has been out of work for several months, said he feels unable to meet even their most basic of needs.

He told ITV Wales: "It is really frustrating, and it is really difficult to be out of a job because no job, no food. You can't do anything, you can't even think about anything.

"I need to put something in order because my family is number one, so that is the reason why I just want to get a job."

Hotels, bars and restaurants came together, to tackle staff shortages - which are forcing them to reduce opening hours in the lead up to their busiest time of year.

The recruitment fair was a joint initiative held by FOR Cardiff, Cardiff Hoteliers Association, and Cardiff Council's Into Work team.

Adrian Field, Executive Director at FOR Cardiff said: "Staff shortages is the biggest issue in the hospitality sector nationwide.

"As we approach the busiest time of the year for the industry, we wanted to help our businesses in Cardiff city centre find new team members and help raise awareness of the extensive career opportunities available and show the flexibility and range of roles that jobs in the industry can provide.

"By bringing the businesses into one room, we hope to connect potential applicants with a range of roles that could be their next big career move. It’s the perfect opportunity for those who are curious about the new ways of working in the hospitality industry to speak to the experts and apply for jobs with ease."

Rising costs and the need for green solutions means demand is up for energy companies. Credit: ITV News

For Advance Energy Services, rising costs and the need for green solutions means demand is going up. But they are also struggling to find workers.

Managing Director, Mike Wayman, said: "So what we're doing is retraining a lot of staff because we can't quite find people with the skills necessary, so whether that's a gas engineer that we're retraining to install heat pumps, or an electrician to help put in solar panels, or whether it's an NVQ qualification for some of our insulation technicians so they can install other insulation measures."

That has been an approach favoured by the Welsh Government, to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

The money will also be spent retraining staff in key sectors, like hospitality, logistics and the NHS. 

He added: "Well the challenge is in our health and care system, there'll never be a quick enough fix because we have real challenges in staffing now.

"What we are doing though is for people who want to retrain, to move into health and care, this money could help them to do that whilst they're still in work, and I think that's really important because we want people to carry on working and earning whilst investing in their own future."

Investing in his future, 19-year-old Ethan wants to work his way up the ladder through on-the-job training.

He said: "I do feel like learning on the job is a lot better because it actually puts me in real life situations and I can learn what actually happens within real work environments.

"I feel like it will be really good for me as a person as well, building all my skills and just making me a better person really."

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