A £4.4m EU-backed scheme to help boost management skills in North Wales has been announced by Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford.
The North Wales Business Academy will support business growth and competitiveness in the region by delivering university-accredited management qualifications to more than 1,000 employees over the next three years.
A Young Talent Academy will also be set up to develop and retain the next generation of managers in North Wales.
Supported by £2.8m of EU funds, the scheme will enable employers to access training and staff development opportunities with subsidies of up to 70%. About 275 businesses across North Wales are expected to benefit from the scheme.
Mark Drakeford said:
“I’m very pleased to announce £2.8m of EU funding for the North Wales Business Academy, which will provide career development opportunities for business employees and, in turn, drive business competitiveness in key growth sectors in the region.
“This investment goes to show how important EU funds are to Wales. We will be continuing to deliver our EU programmes, protecting Welsh interests during the UK Government’s negotiation on the terms of exit from the European Union.”
The North Wales Business Academy is aimed at companies with growth ambition in key sectors, including advanced manufacturing, tourism and outdoor activities, the food and drinks industry and energy sector.
Subsidised opportunities for staff to achieve management qualifications will be available in areas including financial management, sales and marketing, business strategy, governance and operational skills and management.
The scheme will be led by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai in partnership with Coleg Cambria, Bangor and Glyndwr universities. Training will be delivered within the workplaces of participating employers.
Dr Ian Rees, executive director of external affairs at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, said:
“The North Wales Business Academy is an exciting initiative, which will improve the performance of companies in the region and help develop the North Wales economy.
“We’re delighted to be leading this venture alongside our partners in the higher education sector and look forward to working with a range of businesses in the coming years.”
Mark Drakeford added:
“EU funds provide vital investment for the Welsh economy and labour market, creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs, backing business and up-skilling our workforce.
“It’s essential Wales does not lose a penny of this funding in the event of the UK leaving the European Union.”
Iwan Thomas, Regional Skills & Employment Coordinator for the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, said:
“The North Wales Economic Ambition Board through its skills workstream as the Regional Skills Partnership for the region, is fully supportive of the North Wales Business Academy as one of our five primary regional skills projects. This project will contribute clearly with our aim to improve and upgrade the region’s skills base and provide employment growth, focusing particularly on improving the supply of advanced skills in the high value economic clusters.
“Having a collaborative approach amongst providers further demonstrates how working as part of a ‘Team North Wales’ approach, our collective vision for a confident, cohesive region with sustainable economic growth, capitalising on the success of high value economic sectors and its connection to the economies of the Northern Powerhouse and Ireland can move closer towards becoming a reality.”