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Welsh Government

Careers Wales holds education conference to address skills gap

"More than 110 head teachers, teachers and education professionals from across Wales attended the conference"

Careers Wales hosted its first ever education conference for educators and partners, aimed at skills proofing young people for the future.

Data released by the careers and advice service ahead of the conference revealed school leavers are still aiming for traditional jobs rather than aspiring for careers in other key growth sectors.

CareerCheck data, which surveys all year 10 students showed 10% of respondents pursued a career in health and medicine, 9.2% in leisure, sports & tourism and 8.1% in engineering.

However, Welsh Government research by the Regional Skills Partnerships reveals significant growth in the advanced materials and manufacturing, energy and environment, construction and technology sectors.

With these sectors demanding a variety of different abilities, Careers Wales has themed its conference around future skills for young people.

More than 110 head teachers, teachers and education professionals from across Wales attended the conference held at the Principality Stadium, which was hosted by TV presenter Sian Lloyd.

Attendees heard speeches from newly appointed Careers Wales chief executive Nikki Lawrence, Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates, Minister for Education Kirsty Williams and TV presenter and adventurer Lowri Morgan who delivered a guest speech.

Education and career experts delivered workshops including:

  • The current standards in careers and work-related experiences with Alun Connick & Steven Pringle, HMI/AEM Estyn.
  • The role of careers and world-related experiences with John Pugsley and Jo Hatch, Welsh Government.
  • The role of entrepreneurial skills in the new curriculum with Carys Roberts, Senior Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager, Welsh Government.
  • A Q&A panel session on what skills employers are looking for hosted by TV Presenter Sian Lloyd, Ian Price of the CBI, Ben Cottam FSB, Leigh Hughes of the CCR Employment & Skills Board and Avril Lewis from ESTnet.

Nikki Lawrence, Careers Wales chief executive, said: “This year is the first time we have held an education conference, and it’s been a great success.

“With Careers Wales being leaders in careers information, advice and guidance it’s important to communicate to schools the mismatch between our young people’s interest and the skills gap in the Welsh economy.

“It was important for us to hold the education conference so we can gather the country’s leading education staff and other stakeholders to discuss how we all work collaboratively in supporting our young people prepare for the future economy.

“We look forward to hosting further education conferences in the future.”

Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said: “Supporting our young people with skills fit for the future is crucial to helping us secure a prosperous Welsh economy post-Brexit.

“It is more important than ever that we use high quality education to develop strong STEM skills in young people. These are the bedrock for innovation in business and industry and will be critical for building a brighter future for Wales.

“We need to ensure that together; education providers, employers and Careers Wales; we are doing what we can, to inspire, motivate and empower our young people on their future career pathways.

“It was my pleasure to speak to a group of people at the Careers Wales conference that I know are passionate about supporting our young people to be the best they can be.”

Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, said:

“Careers and work-related experiences are vital in ensuring that young people are prepared for the world of work.

“To highlight the importance of schools engaging with employers, our new curriculum will include guidance on careers and work-related experiences.

“To help young people make informed decisions about their future careers, we must ensure they are aware of the vast range of exciting careers that are available to them and the qualifications they need.

“We need to be pro-active in engaging employers with our schools and colleges and Careers Wales have a key role in this".