South East Wales jobs forecast to increase by more than 29,000 by 2024

Pupils from Llysweri School with NHS apprentice Lloyd Willis. Pics (C) Huw John, Cardiff.

Employment in south east Wales is set to increase by more than 29,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024, according to figures highlighted in Careers Wales’ Spotlight on South East Wales.

The national information advice and guidance service, has this week launched its Spotlight on South East Wales at an event in Lliswerry High School in Newport.

Guests included Councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of Newport City Council, Sarah Morgan, head of education at Newport City Council, Careers Wales representatives and a number of students from year 10 and 11.

The Spotlight report – an online resource highlighting up-to-date labour market information aimed at helping inform people’s career options – draws from data from the Learning Skills and Innovation Partnership (LSkIP) and Welsh Government’s Regional Labour Market Intelligence Report.

In the report, five key sectors have been highlighted to experience the greatest demand for jobs and skills. These sectors are: ICT, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, Financial and Professional Services, Construction and Human Foundational Economy (which includes health, social care and education).

The finance and insurance sector is likely to have the greatest percentage growth between 2014 and 2024, of around 19.5%.

A key theme throughout the report is the rising demand for digital skills across all sectors. According to the Spotlight, more than 1,000 new growth jobs in the ICT sector are forecast by 2024 for the region. The report states that new technology, such as artificial intelligence, driverless vehicles, 3D printing, robotics and automation will also continue to change the future of work and skills.

While there a number of factors that will contribute to the growth in these sectors, the report identifies three contributory factors. The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, a £1.2 billion investment in south east Wales, is expected to provide up to 25,000 new jobs within the region.

The compound semiconductor foundry in Newport is also likely to create 2,000 jobs for the region, and hundreds of manufacturing jobs are expected to be created by the Aston Martin project in St Athan.

Findings from the data also identified a number of skills gaps, from job-specific skills, to softer employment skills including problem-solving, time management, customer handling and team working.

Graham Bowd, chief executive at Careers Wales, said: “Our Spotlight on South East Wales clearly demonstrates how the region is experiencing, and will continue to experience, significant growth. The investment into the area by companies, such as Aston Martin, provides a huge boost to employment opportunities, and it’s positive to see such flagship companies demonstrating confidence to invest in the area.

“With new technology continuing to change the way in which we work, it is clear the demand for IT and digital skills will only continue to rise.

“It is encouraging to see that the predicted growth will be across a range of different sectors. The spotlight also suggests that the number of apprenticeships available will be significant in south east Wales, specifically Higher Level Apprenticeships, and it is vital that we continue to make people aware of the range of roles and routes into work, along with necessary skillsets, so that we can continue to develop an appropriately skilled workforce.”

Cllr Debbie Wilcox, Leader, Newport City Council, Joint Cabinet Lead for Employment and Skills, Cardiff Capital Region and Leader, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), said: “The report outlines the significant growth that south east Wales is currently experiencing, including the likely creation of around 2,000 jobs at the compound semiconductor foundry in Newport.

“It’s important that the future generations of workers in south east Wales feel inspired to find out more about the opportunities that are available in their local area so that they can plan their future careers.”

LSkIP is working closely with employers to help identify the region’s most significant areas of growth and recognises that teaching secondary school pupils about the skill gaps in their region is a vital part of future workforce planning, so that they can be better equipped and prepared for employment opportunities in areas of high demand once they leave full-time education.