Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
Further to the announcement last week concerning job losses at TATA Steel sites across Wales, I am writing to provide an update regarding skills assistance for TATA and those individuals affected.
Edwina Hart, MBE CStJ AM, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, chaired the first TATA Task Force meeting on 20 January. The Task Force comprises representatives from TATA, Trade Unions, Local Authorities, the Business Sector, Education, Health, Careers Wales and Job Centre Plus.
The primary aim of the Task Force is to agree steps to help employees impacted by the announcement, including those employees in the supply chain and those providing local goods and services.
The Task Force has established four work streams; a skills work stream aimed at supporting the TATA workforce and another focussed on business and the wider supply chain. A third group will consider the health issues associated with the announcement and determine health support access for those affected, and the final group will focus on procurement issues related to the industry.
This morning I met with Roger Evans, who is chairing the Skills Group to discuss and agree the priorities for those individuals likely to be affected by recent announcements. The skills work stream will focus on support for those individuals facing redundancy in TATA, and also individuals impacted across the wider supply chain and service sector.
Consideration will also be given to the re-training and up-skilling of those staff that remain in employment at TATA in order to further develop key skills within the company necessary to support the sustainability of the business for the longer term.
The skills work stream will set out a clearly defined action plan for training and redeployment interventions to ensure prompt implementation of assistance following the completion of the consultation period currently underway at TATA.
Welsh Ministers will continue to press the UK Government to secure additional funds from Europe, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which might provide appropriate assistance to any workers being made redundant.
We have a well-established relationship with TATA Steel in Wales and have worked with the company to support skills development for their workforce over a number of years. The Welsh Government will continue to do everything we can to support the company, and the wider Steel Industry, which is vital for our manufacturing base in Wales.