Welsh Government has achieved its target of creating 100,000 all age, high quality apprenticeships during this Senedd term.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said reaching the milestone was a fantastic achievement and has provided crucial opportunities to individuals and businesses throughout Wales.
Of the 100,000 apprenticeship starts, 60% were undertaken by females, while 57% were learners aged 25 and over.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said:
“It’s fantastic news that we’ve reached our target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in the Senedd term.
“Apprenticeships are a crucial part of our economy and provide people of all ages with opportunities to learn whilst earning a wage.
“I have met many dedicated apprentices, of all ages, at the fantastic businesses we have here in Wales and I’ve been delighted to hear how they have developed new skills and capabilities. Firms have also told me how investing in apprenticeships have benefited their business and workforce.
Welsh Government recently announced major new employer incentives to help recruit apprentices. This includes businesses in Wales being able to claim up to £3,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25.
The incentives are part of Welsh Government’s £40 million proactive jobs and skills package to support businesses and workers in recovering from the economic impacts of coronavirus and respond to the effects of the UK leaving the EU.
They will help to ensure crucial employment opportunities for apprentices in Wales, while supporting businesses to hire, train and develop new staff.
The Minister added:
“We are living in incredibly challenging times, but today’s announcement shows what can be achieved when government, business and learners work together.
“I am very proud of the action we have taken in reaching the 100,000 milestone.
"It has allowed individuals looking for a change in direction throughout Wales to improve their lives and really show what they’re capable of, while businesses of all sizes have benefited from having them as part of their team.
“The incentives I announced recently will be crucial in providing even more apprentices with a chance to shine.
Owain Williams, joint managing director at Williams Homes in Bala, said:
"Apprenticeships have been a vital part of our recruitment strategy for the last eighteen years, allowing us to nurture talent from the local community and develop an experienced and skilled workforce.
"By tailoring our apprentices’ training to suit the different skill sets we need, we’ve been able to better adapt as a business to new industry trends and continue to grow as a company.
"We always strive to offer our apprentices permanent roles upon completion of their apprenticeship, so it’s also a cost-effective way for us to recruit trained staff compared to using sub-contractors.
"We’ve recently announced plans to open a 40,000 square foot production facility for low energy homes in Conwy next year, which will create up to ten new apprenticeship opportunities.
"This facility will also house our new Apprentice Academy, which will aim to build on the huge success we’ve already seen through apprenticeships by upskilling our workforce and helping to future-proof our business by creating a pipeline of skilled and experienced tradespeople.
Tim Millard, Principal Engineer and Apprenticeship Manager at Newport Wafer Fab said:
“Apprenticeships are vital to the running of our business and prove beneficial to both the individual and to Wafer Fab as a company.
“Our apprentices have the opportunity to learn from a team with decades of experience between them, while the business can tailor the training of the apprentice to our specific needs. We’re committed to supporting our apprentices to achieve their dream career, equipping them with the training and skills needed.
Leah Clarke is undertaking a level 3 Laboratory and Science Technician Apprenticeship at Coleg Cambria while working for Quay Pharma. She said:
“I started working towards my AS-Level exams but it just wasn’t for me. I felt like I could learn so much more being hands on in a working environment through an apprenticeship than I could sat in a classroom.
The apprenticeship programme in Wales is funded by Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.