Agenda item

Presentation on the Skills and Talent Regional Project


Committee received a presentation from Jane Lewis from Carmarthenshire County Council in relation to the Skills and Talent Regional Project.  The project was working in partnership to identify the skills and training needs for the region over the next 15 -20 years.  The project was contained in the first tranche as it impacted on the other projects making up the programme.  New skills were vital to the delivery of the other projects within the Programme.  The project aimed at building Gross Value Added (GVA) and ground work had already begun.


It was noted that, at present, the project sat under the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership for South West and Mid Wales and would transfer once the project had been approved.


Members agreed that it was very important to improve skills, but asked how these would be retained in the region?  This would be difficult as pay rates varied throughout the country, with this region, in particular, being lower paid than most other areas.  It was hoped that the area’s lower cost of living together with the area itself would encourage people to stay. 


Members were advised that the project was with UK/WG governments at the informal stage.


The committee asked whether there would be an initiative in place to prepare school leavers for work?  Would the project include vocational avenues in addition to academic routes.   It was noted that the project proposed to alter the engagement stage to fall within schools to help pupils make the right decision for them and not at HE and FE level, which it was believed was too late. 


It was noted that the project was not able to access the Apprentice Levy. 


Members asked whether the project would best be delivered within five years of approval of the project and not five years from signing of the Joint Agreement thus ensuring a wise spend – not rushed.  When asked, Ms Lewis agreed that this would be the better option although background work had been carried out the main costs for the project was the writing of relevant courses and getting these approved.  This would form the match funding referred to in the Business Case and which had already been agreed by the HE and FE bodies.


Members were pleased that agreement had been reached with the HE and FE bodies however it was noted that austerity measures also extended to them.  Members also asked whether there were sufficient number of teaching staff available locally to carry out the project and were advised that teachers would also require upskilling in some areas.


In relation to the levels of skills, it was noted that the Government wanted an increase in Levels four - seven whilst the project would also focus on levels one - three which were likely to be school leavers and to then increase their levels through the different stages.


Members were keen to know whether similar projects were being looked at to ascertain best practice and were pleased to note that this was being done.


It was agreed that a letter be sent to both the UK and Welsh Governments emphasising the need to build on the work of the City Deal after the 15 years.  In addition the Joint Committee should be asked to revisit its decision in relation to the implementation of projects within five years of the Joint Agreement and that the five year period commence once the projects were approved.   





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