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About Apprenticeships in Wales27th March 2012, 13:27
Think of Wales and you think of incredible lamb, rolling green hills, choirs and maybe even unpronounceable place names. Jokes aside, Wales is home to some of the most beautiful parts of the UK, has some of the lowest living costs in Great Britain and some of the cheapest property too.
unemployment in Wales is slightly above the uk average though, and the average wage might be less than in other parts of the country, but of course you need to measure that against the lower costs of living. if you’re thinking of taking an apprenticeship in Wales, here’s a look at the arguments for and against it.
.. the Good
these days, Wales’ main employment sectors are in tourism and public services. Wales used to be a hub of industry, and kept the entire uk going in years gone by with its coal mines. the days of fossil fuel mining and shipping are numbered though, and so the country has had to adapt to the times.
other industries have stepped in to fill the void though, making Wales as good a place as any to start an apprenticeship. the types of apprenticeships available will vary depending on where in Wales you are, but there are a wide range of roles on offer, some in growth areas. in 2009 there were more people employed in the public administration, defence, education & health sectors in Wales when compared to the national average, and a lower percentage in finance & business activities.
Between 2001 and 2009, however, there were increases in employment in five of the seven industry sectors in Wales, and the finance and business sector saw the biggest percentage increase. Within Wales itself, West Wales and the Valleys had a higher proportion of jobs in public administration, defence, education, and health than East Wales. From aerospace manufacturers in north Wales to the DVLA in South Wales; there is no shortage of big employers in the country.
Very recently, experts predicted that north Wales could become a hub for the uk’s biggest financial institutions if investment is made in management and leadership skills. Figures show there are nearly 18,000 people working in financial and professional services in the region, up 16% over the last five years. Moreover, there are now more than 3,000 businesses in these sectors in in north Wales, up 13% since 2006, according to the uk’s Financial Skills Partnership.
Wales could potentially get massive government investment in the form of Enterprise Zones in the coming years. Enterprise Zones are designated areas where specific incentives are offered to attract new businesses and industry to the area.
... the Bad
on the downside, Wales has some of the worst areas for unemployment in the entire uk. Merthyr tydfil and Blaenau gwent, for example, have unemployment rates of 6.7 and 7.1 per cent respectively. Wales is also home to some of the most deprived areas in the uk.
the unemployment rate in Wales was 8.4 per cent of the economically active population between May and July this year, compared to the national average of 7.9 per cent for the same period. this could make it harder for you to find an apprentice employer, or if you do find one and complete your training, you might struggle to find a job afterwards.
though there are a lot of people employed in the public sector in Wales, a recent Freedom of information request put forward by the BBc found that 22 local authorities spent more than £57 million on redundancy payments over the last three years, paying off 3,630 people.
Latest figures from the Royal institution of chartered Surveyors (RicS) have suggested that the housing market in Wales is ‘subdued’, with number of homes put up for sale in September having fallen.
onS Statistics from last year showed that the average life expectancy (at birth) for both males and females was lower
in Wales than in England and higher than in Scotland and northern ireland. the areas hit hard by unemployment (Merthyr tydfil and Blaenau gwent) also suffered on life expectancy. Merthyr tydfil had the lowest life expectancy in Wales for males and Blaenau gwent the lowest for females. Wales’ chief Medical officer has also warned that unhealthy lifestyles in Wales could cause life expectancy rates to fall, with diseases caused by obesity, smoking, alcohol and fitness on the increase.
Weighing it up
Is the writing on the wall for Welsh apprentices?
Wales isn’t the booming industrial centre it once was, nor is it the economic dinosaur it became as industry died in the country. While unemployment is an issue in some areas of Wales there are jobs to be had and growth sectors which show promise. the quality of life you can expect in Wales is relatively good, with low living costs, low property prices and free prescriptions too, as long as you’re registered with a gp in Wales and go to a Welsh pharmacy. With beautiful, clean countryside, there’s a lot to be said for living in Wales.