£45 million package to train staff and help Welsh SMEs grow

30 November 2021

As part of the package, £35 million will help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Wales relaunch, develop, decarbonise and grow to help drive Wales’ economic recovery. The funding will support more than 1,000 business, help to create 2,000 new jobs and safeguard a further 4,000 jobs.


In a joint initiative between the Economy Minister and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, an additional £10 million is being made available to boost Wales’ popular Personal Learning Accounts. This will enable further education colleges to deliver additional courses and qualifications which will help 2,000 people access a wider range of job and earning opportunities in priority sectors facing labour shortages.  

Funding will be specifically targeted at reengaging and retraining staff to return to work in the NHS and in social care, training more HGV lorry drivers, reskilling individuals to respond to exciting new job opportunities in green construction and renewable energy, and to ensure there are more trained chefs, waiting and front of house staff to work in Wales’ thriving hospitality sector.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:

The £45 million package I’m announcing today is being delivered at a critical time in our economic recovery. It provides an opportunity to kick-start and grow the economy as we focus on creating a fairer, greener and prosperous future for Wales.

This will provide opportunities for people to retrain and increase their earning potential in areas of the economy we know are under extreme pressure – including health and social care, training for HGV drivers, hospitality and green construction.

The £35 million funding for SMEs is the next phase of the Welsh Government’s approach to economic recovery and an important step towards re-establishing resilience within the Welsh economy and continued decarbonisation of Wales’ business sector.

Administered by local authorities, it provides an opportunity to kick-start and grow the economy following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s departure from the EU.

Businesses will be invited to identify ways in which investment will help them re-launch their business, develop it in innovative new ways, and create new jobs.

It will also support businesses to tackle some of the major issues facing Wales, such as addressing skills gaps in some sectors, upskilling the existing workforce, ensuring fair work for employees and tackling climate change - with Ministers looking for proposals that will help Wales meet its legally binding Net Zero carbon emission target by 2050.

Businesses will be expected to match-fund any grants made available by the Welsh Government.

It’s expected the £35 million funding will support around 1,000 business, helping them to create 2,000 new jobs and safeguard a further 4,000 jobs. It will help leverage £40 million worth of investments by businesses themselves, which will help support the creation of 50 new enterprises.

The £10 million for further education colleges will see the further expansion of Personal Learning Accounts, which will allow local colleges to deliver additional courses and qualifications to support 2,000 people to access a wider range of job opportunities and increase their earning potential in priority sectors.

These include:

  • logistics (in particular HGV and LGV driving) including driver licence fees and tests. Funding will be targeted at driver training by offering courses to new potential drivers, provide refresher training for those who may be seeking a return to the sector, and to train and increase the number of instructors and examiners available to conduct driving tests
  • green construction and renewable energy – including roles in housing retrofit, and in wind, tidal and solar power sectors
  • advanced materials and manufacturing – including technical engineers
  • hospitality – including chefs, catering assistants, waiting and front of house staff
  • health and social care – including support to re-engage and retrain former health and social care employees back into the sector and meet the new licence to practice requirements.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, Ministers have invested more than £2.5 billion in emergency business support, helping protect in excess of 160,000 jobs which might otherwise have been lost.

The £35 million SME funding will further boost existing local authority business support grants and will begin to open for applications in November. Applications will need to be made direct to local authorities once their individual grant schemes open.

For further information please visit GOV.Wales