Training providers welcome revised apprenticeships funding cut

Work-based training providers across Wales have welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Tuesday) to lessen the proposed cut to the apprenticeship programme.

In its original draft budget, the Welsh Government had proposed a 24.5% cut, the equivalent of £38 million and 10,000 fewer apprentices able to start next year.

Following a concerted campaign led by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW) and CollegesWales, supported by employers across Wales, £5.25 million has been put back into the budget.

Whilst the funding cut is still hugely challenging, the NTFW, which represents work-based learning providers across Wales, has welcomed the Welsh Government rethink, albeit under immense pressure.

“As a leading advocate for workforce development, the NTFW welcomes this Welsh Government announcement about apprenticeship funding,” said the NTFW’s strategic director Lisa Mytton.

“This rethink recognises the importance of apprenticeships in providing individuals with valuable training opportunities to gain hands-on experience and develop specialised skills that are needed by employers across Wales.

“We have maintained from the outset that apprenticeships are a vital component of building a skilled workforce and closing the skills gap in our country.

“The NTFW is delighted that the huge amount of time devoted to lobbying Ministers and Members of Senedd about the benefits of apprenticeships to individuals and businesses alike has been successful.

“Our members still face huge challenges with the significant reduction in the budget. Although the outlook is slightly more positive than we expected, there will still be significantly fewer apprenticeship starts next year and some very difficult decisions to take.

“We commend the Welsh Government and Economy Minister Vaughan Gething for listening to us and revising their original draft budget.

“However, we would urge the Welsh Government to invest more in apprenticeships as soon as possible to maintain this flagship programme and to retain the expert and professional workforce that drives skills development in Wales.

“We also wish to put on record our appreciation of the cross party support and backing from Welsh employers that we have received for prioritising apprenticeship funding in the budget. We are excited about the potential for growth and innovation in this space.

“Together, we can continue to support the development of a highly skilled workforce that drives economic growth and prosperity for all in Wales.”

Picture caption:

Lisa Mytton, NTFW’s strategic director – “Our members still face huge challenges”.