Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea, explains how the College is planning to help people get the support they need to secure and retain employment.
Of all of the challenges we have faced in recent months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and possibly the greatest one that still lies in front of us, is the projections that around 7.6 million jobs or around 24% of the UK workforce could be at risk because of the lockdown period.
Indeed, even as lockdown is being relaxed, we are hearing announcements of redundancies being made across a diverse range of employers from Airbus and Rolls Royce to the Daily Mirror and The Restaurant Group – with plenty more clearly under consideration.
In response, last week the UK Government set out its post-coronavirus recovery plan including a further investment in apprenticeships and traineeships and the introduction of a new kickstart scheme for young people. Whilst Wales has yet to make similar commitments, we are aware that discussions are ongoing and that a similar recovery plan – but specifically for Wales – will be released soon.
To help with this, and to demonstrate our support in this key area, I am delighted that we have now reopened the College’s Kingsway Centre, which is home to our employability provision.
Our Better Jobs, Better Futures team will be available to act as a drop in centre for people of all ages looking for help and support in securing and retaining employment. They do this by matching individual skills and experience to the requirements of the large range of local and national employers we work with.
Indeed this work has been ongoing throughout lockdown – albeit delivered virtually – but we appreciate that a large number of individuals are looking for face to face support which is why we have prioritised the reopening of this area.
But this is only part of our strategy. As a College who works with large numbers of 16-18 year olds, we are particularly mindful that the impact of the lockdown is likely to be particularly hard hitting for young people. We are aware that jobs in industries that traditionally employ large numbers of young people, such as hospitality and retail, are likely to be those at greatest risk.
So that is why, this September, we will be integrating a programme of employability support and guidance within all our full time courses. This will mean that all of our students, whether they are looking to go onto a top UK university, an apprenticeship or are unsure of what they want to do, can begin to better understand the job market in terms of what careers are in demand, how company recruitment operates and how best to position yourself to secure that job that you have set out to get – whether you need these skills now, or in the future.
This is all part of our Gower College Swansea Guarantee, which offers each of our full time students a seamless link between all of our different pathways and which can help to place their feet on the career ladder.
So whether that is an offer of a place at university, an offer of a job/apprenticeship, progression onto another further education course or tailored employability support aimed at getting the student into work, we can support you.
For more information about the College, please visit www.gcs.ac.uk