An ambitious ten-year plan to transform Wales into a highly-skilled nation has been launched by the Welsh government.
Ministers in Cardiff Bay said they want to create a more “integrated, streamlined and simplified” skills system that reduces competition and makes the most of funding.
The Policy Statement on Skills, which has been developed with FE colleges and skills organisations, draws together a number of initiatives and plans into one document.
The government wants to make it easier for individuals and employers to access skills support in future, but it also wants employers to take more responsibility for the skills of their workforces.
Deputy minister for skills Ken Skates said Wales needs a “step-change” in the way it approaches skills.
“Our economy is changing and if we’re to attract the more high skilled jobs we need to see we need to take action now,” he said.
“This means addressing the skills not only of people who are in the workplace but people who are unemployed and young people who will soon be entering the labour market.
“We also need to address the skills gaps that exist in our workforce.”
John Graystone, chief Executive of ColegauCymru, the body which represents all of Wales’s FE colleges, welcomed the statement.
Some three quarters of funded vocational and technical education in Wales is provided by FE colleges, both on campus and in the workplace.
“Wales faces a big skills challenge,” said Mr Graystone.
“Sustained public and private investment in skills are essential in enabling Wales to rebuild its industries and promote social justice. Colleges will work closely with government, employers and to ensure that this challenge is met.”