Skills support

1. Overview

The Welsh Government Business Information helpline team offers practical advice and information to businesses in Wales to help them improve skills throughout their workforce.

They can provide advice and guidance on all aspects of workforce development including information on Welsh Government skills support programmes as detailed below:

Information and advice can also be provided regarding the following:

  • training provision
  • government funding where this is available

For more information on the schemes call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000

2. Workforce Development Programme

The Workforce Development Adviser can help your business review its current staff development strategy and meet its training needs.  They will usually carry out a diagnostic review of staff development, to help build a skills development plan for your business.  This will be based on:

  • your current approach to management and training
  • your training needs
  • the issues and challenges facing your business

They will also use their experience to help you source the training you require, including eligibility for Discretionary Funding support.

Workforce Development Programme – Direct

Discretionary Funding to support training that is accredited, qualification based or meets a widely recognised industry standard may be available for small businesses. 

For more information on the scheme call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000

3. Investors in People (IiP)

Investors in People (IiP) is a framework for business improvement that helps you and your staff achieve results by focusing on your businesses priorities and aims.

Investors in People Wales is responsible for information and guidance and manages a network of IiP specialists who provide advice and assessment services.  All our IiP specialists are registered to national standards.  

Over time businesses that have worked with IiP have identified many benefits including: 

  • increased competitiveness and productivity
  • improved results, such as sales figures and cost control
  • greater customer satisfaction
  • better employee relations
  • improved skills and multi-skilling
  • more effective communications
  • smoother organisational change

For more information contact Investors in People Wales:

Download a leaflet on how to make sure you benefit from using IiP (PDF 231KB)

Download a leaflet on how IiP can transform your businesses performance (1024 KB)

You can find out about the benefits to business on the Welsh Government website

4. ReAct Redundancy Action Scheme

Financial support is available to businesses in Wales if they take on qualifying employees who have been made redundant in the last 6 months. The Redundancy Action Scheme ReAct can provide your business with:

  • funding to subsidise new employees' wages
  • money for training new staff members

To benefit from this scheme, both your business and the individual must meet the qualifying criteria.

For more information on the scheme and the eligibility criteria call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000

5. Apprenticeships in Wales

The Apprenticeship Programme helps employers develop skilled staff, trained in the specific skills you need. Apprentices are productive workers that train on the job as well as gaining outside training from a college or other training provider.

There is a wide range of training options available in Wales to suit businesses of all types and sizes and across all sectors.

Although the employer will pay the apprentice’s wages, the Welsh Government pays for most of their training – with help from the European Social Fund.

Download the Apprenticeships leaflet for employers (PDF, 907KB)

Business Benefits

  • national standards and qualifications linked with hands-on training and development means apprentices are well trained and productive
  • apprentices are responsive and motivated, with broad transferable skills
  • apprentices have low staff turnover because they have meaningful training and career progression plans to follow
  • apprentices bring a significant return on investment and often go to senior management roles


Any company in Wales - whatever its size - can take part in the programme. Apprenticeships are aimed at individuals aged 16 or above.

For more information on the scheme visit the Welsh Government website or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000.

Pathways to Apprenticeships Programme

Each year the Welsh Government pre-trains a large number of young people in colleges to give them a better chance, and help boost their prospects into full time employment on an Apprenticeship programme.

This means that there is a group of young people pre-trained and with a good track record ready to become productive apprentices.

The young people achieve a Level 2 vocational qualification from an apprenticeship framework specified by the Sector Skills Councils.

If recruiting one of these young people is of interest, employers should get in touch with the college and link up with a Pathways to Apprenticeship learner. 

Download the Apprenticeship Pathway leaflet (PDF, 518KB)

For more information on the scheme visit the Welsh Government website or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000



6. Essential Skills in the Workplace

What is it?

The aim of this programme is to help employers tackle the cost and wasted potential arising from low levels of:

  • communication
  • application of number
  • ICT

The Essential Skills in the Workplace (ESIW) programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government and targets adults in employment by providing:

  • guidance
  • support
  • a range of free flexible training leading to qualifications from Entry Level 1 through to Level 2.  

Support is provided in the workplace and is expected to help over 1,000 employers and 30,000 employed individuals to enable them to achieve an acceptable level of functional skills.

Once the essential skills have started to be addressed employers will be expected to sign up to the Employer Pledge, which is a respected award.  The benefits for the employer will be:

  • a tailored training plan
  • staff with increased levels of skills
  • a better reputation with other customers
  • a more committed workforce

Download the Essential Skills leaflet (PDF 967KB)

How do employers access it?

Free essential skills training is available now for employers of any size, who are based in Wales by using the following contact details:

Enquiries should be referred to the Essential Skills mailbox in the first instance.

7. Jobs Growth Wales

The programme will assist young people that are job ready but have had difficulty securing employment. Participants will be paid at or above the national minimum wage for a minimum of 25 hours per week.  Young people will be employed for the duration of the programme and the jobs created must be additional to, and not replace, positions that would otherwise be filled.

The programme will offer support for:

  • businesses within the private and voluntary sector to identify recruitment needs and matches employment and community based opportunities with young people seeking work
  • micro-businesses to recruit their first employee
  • young people to enter self-employment - young people can receive a bursary of £6,000

Businesses who immediately progress their JGW participant onto an apprenticeship programme may be eligible for further support under the Welsh Government’s Young Recruits Programme.  This programme can offer support in the form of a wage subsidy of £50 per week for the first 6 months of an eligible learner’s apprenticeship programme.

Download the Jobs Growth Wales – Employer Brochure (PDF 1444KB)

For more information on the scheme visit the Welsh Government website or call the Business Wales Helpline on 03000 6 03000

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Last updated 8-12-14