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Wales cannot fulfil its economic potential until we ensure our most vulnerable fulfil theirs – Minister

First published:
13 March 2018
Last updated:

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Speaking ahead of the launch of the Welsh Government’s new Employability Plan next week, the Minister told delegates the story of a young, bright neighbour in Ely who was told “exams weren’t for the likes of him” and how, in her role as Minister for Lifelong Learning, she is determined to ensure people fulfil their potential regardless of their background.

She said:

“I became involved in politics because I was brought up in Ely, an area where there was, and still is quite a lot of deprivation. When I grew up there literally nobody on the estate except for my parents had gone to university. And yet, the people on my estate were and are as clever as anyone sitting in this room today. It is to correct that injustice that I became interested in politics.

“That is why I was so thrilled when I was invited into government four months ago to focus on skills, employability, further education and the Welsh language. It gives me an opportunity to help create the conditions to release that potential in a whole load of individuals and to improve the economic prosperity of this country.

“Next week I’ll be launching our new Employability Plan. This will recognise that employability is not just about jobs and skills. It is about getting every aspect of government policy; education, health, housing and communities; working together to support people into sustainable jobs. We want Wales to be a fair-work nation, where everyone can access better jobs closer to home, develop their skills, and have decent, life enhancing work without experiencing exploitation or poverty.

“The world and the workplace are changing rapidly and I want to ensure that our education and training system responds. The Employability Plan will also reflect the challenges of automation, artificial intelligence and digitalisation. We have to ‘future proof’ the education system and build resilience in our learners, who may well have twelve different jobs in their lifetimes.”

“These are big challenges but education gives us the opportunity to rise to these challenges. We need to ensure that it is available to all.”

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