While the strength of the Welsh conversation arguably lies in is long-term outlook, plans with a smaller length are being implemented by the Welsh Assembly. And focus is on the contentious issue of employment. The importance of creating a highly skilled nation has facilitated the implementation of a 10 year plan -announced in early February- with the aim of creating an environment where Welsh business and industry can flourish.
The policy statement on skills holds four central points that need to be achieved for the success of Wales as a 'skills nation'. Firstly there must be a provision of skills for jobs and growth. In an increasingly globalised world, a strong skilled work base enables nations to complete on the world stage; a stronger workforce world mean a stronger Wales. A confident and an actively global Wales also need to be strong internally. Wales' success in the wider world is dependent on its strength as it stands alone. For skills to be delivered there needs to be a clear response to local needs. Both employees and employer need skills accessibility. Additionally skills must be tailored to the needs of employers and in tandem with the employer’s needs, individuals will be supported by the Welsh Government via organisations such as Jobs Growth Wales.
Furthermore, in similar line to the National Conversation, the Welsh Government will engage with employers across Wales to then optimise the development of the Policy Statement on Skills. A national consultation on co-investment will be launched in February 2014 and will be followed by an implementation plan in July 2014.
On the one hand, it seems sensible that opinions of the Welsh people are being taken into consideration . Since we elect our government they are supposed to represent us and our nations interests. However, we can see the worries of employment. Newport's Avana Bakeries showed us how tenuous the current economic climate is for Wales-something that maybe long-term planning may not anticipate. Yet it could be that long term goals could be laid down in a more issue specific manner ie. sustainability. After all, as long as there is money in the bank and a roof overhead whatever time frame given for work-based goals may not be at the forefront.
So when it comes to employment or preparing people for the world of work, should this be part of an overarching grand scheme? Or should short(er) term specific targets be the best way to optimise Wales' workforce?