The Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme has moved another step forward in helping thousands of local students prepare for upcoming job opportunities across the region. With the first pilot project already successfully in delivery, the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership (RLSP) has now approved a further five pilot applications which will help future proof the regions workforce.

The Skills and Talent programme is part of the wider Swansea Bay City Deal portfolio and will attract £30 million of funds from the Welsh Government, UK Government, public sector and private sector. Delivered by the RLSP and led by Carmarthenshire County Council on behalf of the region, the Programme aims to deliver 2,200 additional skills opportunities, 14,000 up-skill opportunities and create at least 3,000 new apprenticeship placements within the next decade. These will all be delivered through collaborative working between schools, colleges, universities, training providers and businesses in the South West Wales region.

Spread geographically across the Swansea Bay City Region the five newly approved pilot projects will hope to maximise prospects for many local people and create job security for future generations to come by ensuring they have the training requirements they need to match their aspirations. Each of the five pilots will have close links with several City Deal projects which will further maximise the benefits across the region.

Led by Cyfle, who are a specialist in providing Building Skills, the Low Carbon Net Zero Awareness Raising project will be delivered across the entire region. With close links to several City Deal projects, it aims to raise awareness of zero and low carbon technologies in the construction sector by delivering industry relevant carbon reduction training. It will work with apprentices and trainees in addition to school pupils in year 10 and 11 who are considering a career in building.  

The second pilot called Battery Manufacturing Skills is led by Swansea University in collaboration with private sector organisations and will also impact on several City Deals project opportunities. This pilot will build on skill gaps in battery manufacturing and the supply chain by providing training, upskilling, and re-skilling to higher skilled students and the local workforce as this sector continues to evolve and grow.    

Working with learners across Carmarthenshire and led by Carmarthenshire County Council alongside construction experts Bouygues UK, the 21st Century Skills pilot will develop work related experiences for primary and secondary aged pupils. There will be a particular focus on working towards net zero in the construction industry and the skills needed to meet the climate emergency challenge.  

The next project, delivered east of the region by Neath Port Talbot Council is called the Digital Sector pilot and will focus on the need for enhanced digital skills in the creative industry for pre and post-16 learners in the Neath Port Talbot area.

The final project is the Nurturing Health and Wellbeing in a Digital World. Specifically targeting schools in the city of Swansea, it aims to teach 3–16 year-old pupils about the life science, health and sports sectors including the development of new technologies to support a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee said “It is great to see further progress on the Skills and Talent programme with the approval of another five exciting pilot projects. These pioneering initiatives will help students prepare for a career in sectors that we expect to have a high demand for workers, transforming the prosperity of the region.  

“Our first pilot project ‘Destination Renewables’ has been in delivery in Pembrokeshire since September and working in partnership with Pembrokeshire College, Pembrokeshire Council, and private sector companies it focuses on the expanding renewable energy sector. We are delighted to announce it has won the ‘Offshore Wind Energy Skills Award’ at the Renewables UK Offshore Wind Awards as well as being a finalist in the Wales STEM Awards. This reinforces the importance of the project as well as give us confidence on the early success of the delivery.

“The Skills and Talent Programme interlinks with all City Deal projects and will help us to grow our region, retain our talented students by providing opportunities for them to stay local and help shape our future.”

Barry Liles, Strategic Lead for the Skills & Talent Programme added “It is so pleasing to see the Skills and Talent pilot projects coming into fruition and despite being in the very early stages of delivery, witnessing the impact they are already having. Many of the projects are targeting workforce of the future, with significant interest from school pupils and excellent collaboration with a broad range of employers. Projects are also developing innovative training solutions which will support the development of employees to harnessing new and emerging technologies. This programme is on track to meet the objectives of the Swansea Bay City Deal.”