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Wales’ future workforce gets super-skilled through 60 business partnerships

A programme which partners businesses with schools to develop the precise skills that Wales’ future workforce needs is today celebrating its 60th partnership.

Business Class, a programme developed by Business in the Community, funded by the Welsh Government and delivered by Careers Wales, builds lasting partnerships between businesses and schools which forge projects aimed at getting students prepared from the world of work.  

Aligning the needs of both business and the education sector is crucial to the success of the Business Class programme. Across Wales partnerships have focused on the skills which Welsh employers are looking for in their future employees, such as experience and knowledge of STEM subjects. Skills in science, technology, engineering and maths are identified in the Welsh Government’s Science for Wales strategy document as "essential" and have the "potential to boost the economy". 

Business Class partnerships are also supporting the future growth and development of the priority employment sectors across Wales, with partnerships spread across the financial and professional services; the creative and media industries; construction, energy, environment and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Matt Appleby, Director of Business in the Community Cymru, said: 

"To have reached the 60 partnership mark is a major milestone – it’s a clear illustration that schools and responsible, forward-thinking companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of collaborating today for the workforce of tomorrow. In turn, of course, these partnerships greatly benefit employers. They give business an opportunity to expand the choices of their future workforce in Wales and inform them about their industries. 

"We greatly look forward to continuing working with Careers Wales on the further development of this invaluable programme."

Richard Spear, Chief Executive at Careers Wales added:

"Nothing beats the hands-on experience of putting STEM skills to practical use. We are really excited to be working on the Business Class programme with BITC and schools and businesses across Wales.  By 2022 Wales will need 25,000 nurses, 19,000 accountants and financiers and 11,000 IT and telecommunication professionals, and they will all require STEM skills. 

"Business Class partnerships make good business sense; schools and industry working together looks set to increasingly become the norm."

Head of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales and a member of the Business Class Steering Group, Ben Cottam commented: 

"From the business perspective and in terms of the skills required for Wales’ future workforce and economy, schemes such as Business Class are vital.  It is genuinely exciting to see this programme taking off in the way it has. Training tomorrow’s workforce appropriately is crucial to Wales’ prosperity."

Businesses and schools who are interested in learning more about Business Class should contact Careers Wales via businessclass@careerswales.com.