NEETS remain a cause for concern, Welsh minister warns
Reducing the number of young people not in education, employment and training remains a priority for the Welsh Government.
That's according to the new deputy minister for skills and technology, Ken Skates, who was speaking exclusively to TJ about the current state of skills in Wales.
"Skills remain a key driver of productivity and competitiveness for Welsh business and the Welsh Government is well aware of that. We are continually evaluating skills intelligence to ensure we have robust evidence base for policymaking," he said.
"The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) report "Working Futures 2010-2020" predicted growth in jobs requiring high levels of qualification/skill in the UK over the next ten years. There is expected to be a continued trend of employment growth in higher skilled, white collar occupations, including managers, professionals and associate professional roles, providing the most significant increases. However, there is also expected to be continued growth in lower-skilled and intermediate occupations.
"We must ensure that Wales is in a strong position to take advantage of better economic conditions when we emerge from the downturn. Delivering a suitably skilled workforce with high quality opportunities for all will be essential to putting us in that position."
Skates stated the importance of Government doing everything possible to help employers bridge any skills gap, with young people central to these plans.
"We want to ensure young people have access to high-quality education and training opportunities in order to fulfil their potential, either through a vocational or academic route. We need to encourage greater investment in skills from our partners in the private sector as a driver of productivity and growth.
"We must support routes to sustainable jobs for the disadvantaged and unemployed, and we need to ensure the learning infrastructure has the quality and capacity to deliver skills and training for a modern bilingual nation.
"We also need to take account of the implications of an ageing workforce which means that maintaining skills within the workforce through the retaining of older workers needs to be balanced against the demands of young people wishing to enter the labour market," he concluded.