Agenda item

Skills & Talent Business Case


The project lead for the Skills & Talent Programme, Jane Lewis, attended the meeting and provided an overview of the business case.

Ms Lewis outlined briefly the remit of the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership. It is an independent organisation completely funded by Welsh Government to identify skills needs and skills gaps in the region. The programme aims to create new and sustainable opportunities that will generate prosperity for individuals and businesses in the Swansea Bay City Deal Region. This will be achieved through the development of a pathway of skills for all and the pilot delivery of demand drive high level skills and upskilling opportunities across the five key themes. The five keys areas are construction, digital, smart manufacturing, health & wellbeing and energy. As the programme develops potential new areas may be identified. This programme will bring together all the skills required across the portfolio of the City Deal and maximise the economy. Currently the region does not have the skills required for investors within the deal. The programme will enable the skills to be developed and allow people to also earn higher salaries within the region. Whilst it is recognised that the programme will not resolve all the issues, it will assist with decreasing the gap between individuals with no skills and those with the higher skill levels.


The programme aims to deliver at least 2,200 additional skills and support the development of around 14,000 individuals with higher level (2-8)s skills in 10 years. To create 3,000 new apprenticeship opportunities to include level 3 to Degree apprenticeships. To work with schools and the new curriculum to develop a clear pathway from school education and increase the numbers of pupils following the STEM subjects. To create at least two Centres of Excellence within specific sectors to develop the region as being “the best” area for skills and development. Upskilling is key to ensuring that the City Deal Projects can be delivered.


In order to ensure that the aims of the Programme can be met, a skills gap analysis will be undertaken to identify new skills training not currently delivered in the region. The Programme will work closely with the projects to identify the skills required and new frameworks that will need to be introduced.


Ms Lewis went through the risks associated with the project. If the programme approval is delayed, this could result in the slippage of the time scale that would impact the delivery of training. Workforce would then be brought in from outside the region.


The programme has a value of £30 million, with various elements of match funding within this. £10million from the City Deal and £4million private sector funding.


The Business Case is currently moving through the approval process. All four local authorities have approved it.  The Business Case will go before Joint Committee on 29th July. The Programme Manager position is being appointed at risk.  The Business Case will be submitted to Welsh and UK Government at the end of July.


Ms Lewis confirmed that the Regional Learning and Skills partnership is funded by Welsh Government, however they are being funded to undertake a piece of work, which makes recommendations to them. The partnership works to the four local authorities that make up South West Wales. The aim of the partnership is to make sure Welsh Government understand what the local issues are around skills.

The Regional Learning Skills Partnership has 9 cluster groups that are led by the industry. The Board of the RLSP is led by the private sector. Members were advised that when information is being gathered, they are working with over 2000 organisations to understand what the issues are. What are the skills that these businesses are identifying that the RLSP needs to be highlighting to Welsh Government for funding in the future and for immediate funding?

When the Business Case was being prepared, two other City Deal Projects who have got Skills & Talent programmes were consulted with, namely Belfast and Edinburgh. They were helpful in identifying key areas that had not been covered within the business case. The RLSP also work regularly with the other three RLSP partnerships in Wales.


Ms Lewis confirmed that the pandemic has had a massive effect on some industries, and identified the tourism and hospitality industry as one largely affected. The RLSP has been working closely with those affected and trying to match them to alternative employment opportunities.

Members queries how improvements to the area would be measured and if there would be regular updates to the Scrutiny Committee. Ms Lewis advised that there would be regular reporting back to both the Joint Scrutiny and Joint Committee.


Members queried what format the engagement with the private sector took place and how the skills gap was measured. Ms Lewis advised that there was formal engagement through the 9 cluster groups. There were also forums held which were industry specific i.e. engineering, to allow more details information to be gathered from those sectors. Regular surveys are undertaken with the businesses to inform the employment and skills plan which is prepared for Welsh Government. The RLSP have been reporting quarterly to Welsh Government during the pandemic, so it is vital that the industries have a voice to reflect where the pandemic has affected them and where upskilling is required.


Members discussed the Gateway Review that had been undertaken and the four recommendations that had been outlined. It was acknowledged that three of the recommendations had been met fully. However, the fourth recommendation was outstanding. Members queried what steps need to be taken to ensure that the fourth recommendation is met.


Members queried if the stakeholders will also be involved closely with the process, including being available to meet with the committee to speak with them directly about being part of the project and as the key milestones are met. It was suggested that the committee speak with the Skills Solution Group who will be measuring the impact of the project and the development of new skills within the region.

Members thanked Jane Lewis for attending the meeting.


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