The National Training Federation for Wales, which represents work-based learning providers across the nation, has appointed a new interim chairperson at a key time for the network.
Sarah John, commercial director at Newport-based Acorn, takes over from Peter Rees, a former assistant principal of Coleg Sir Gâr in West Wales, following his retirement. She will remain as chairperson at least until the NTfW’s annual meeting in September.
Mrs John has been involved in work-based learning for 22 years and has been an NTfW board member for two years as South East Wales regional chair.
She takes over the chair at a time when work-based learning providers across Wales are eagerly awaiting news of how the new apprenticeship levy, which is being introduced by the Westminster Government in April next year, will impact the delivery of training.
“My role will be to drive forward the NTfW agenda and to keep the network updated on Welsh Government policy on the apprenticeship levy and the changes taking place in England, where they are introducing Trailblazer apprenticeships,” said Sarah.
“We need to know how the levy will impact Wales and keep employers informed. However, the work-based learning contract providers are in place in Wales, programmes have been commissioned and the Welsh Government has made it clear that they are not changing the apprenticeship frameworks as they have done in England.”
Focused on “getting the job done” during her interim appointment, she said there were a number of key decisions to be made before September that would influence the NTfW’s future direction.
“I think there are great opportunities for apprenticeships in Wales as the network focuses on the new Welsh Government’s key objectives, one of which is to increase employer engagement and the recruitment of young people onto apprenticeships,” she added. “It’s important that we understand what the Welsh economy needs and respond to that as a network.
“Many major new development projects are coming to Wales, including the new prison in Wrexham and the Metro as part of the City Deal in Cardiff. We need to be agile as a network to respond to the emerging needs of employers, utilising the apprenticeship budget. Collaboration will be really important.
“Regional Skills Partnerships are currently working on demand and supply assessments, which will inform the NTfW and its network about the future needs of the Welsh economy and aid the network in planning or changing provision as a result.”
The NTfW is a membership organisation of more than 100 quality work-based learning providers with links to 35,000 employers across Wales. Members range from small specialist training providers to national and international companies, as well as local authorities, further education institutions and third sector organisations.