Ken Skates AM, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills, has today unveiled a Policy Statement on Skills — a ten year plan “to help Wales evolve into a highly-skilled nation and create the conditions that businesses need to grow and flourish”, setting out the steps that need to be taken “to develop a resilient, responsive and sustainable post-19 skills system”.
The statement covers four priority areas for the Welsh Government:
- Skills for jobs and growth: Focuses on how Wales can stimulate demand for a more highly-skilled society that can drive forward our economy in the pursuit of jobs and growth.
- Skills that respond to local needs: Describes how Wales must develop a skills system which reflects the needs of local communities, including providing a streamlined and accessible employment and skills offer for both individuals and employers.
- Skills that employers value: Recognises the importance of engaging employers to participate in the skills system and describes the level of co-investment needed alongside government if Wales is to remain competitive.
- Skills for employment: Explores the role of the skills system in providing the employment support necessary to assist individuals into employment and to progress in work, both of which are central to our tackling poverty agenda in Wales.
From my perspective, digital skills should be front and centre in this new policy, both to ensure we have safe and confident digital citizens (see Delivering a Digital Wales), as well as to encourage the development of high-level skills for the Welsh Government’s priority sectors over the next ten years. This also links back last October’s review of the ICT curriculum in Wales, as well as the work of the UK Digital Skills Taskforce.
It will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming months; download the full policy statement [PDF].