Chapter 3.
jobs & skills

Welsh Labour’s Promise to Wales


  1. Support young people who have been affected by both Brexit and the pandemic by developing a new Young Persons Guarantee, giving everyone under 25 the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment. 
  2. Create 125,000 all-age apprenticeships during the next Senedd term. We will work with unions and employers to expand the use of shared and degree apprenticeships to give people more flexible routes into training and a career.
  3. Take forward our Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission for Wales and promote good quality skills in the areas where we know the economy will grow. We will strengthen Regional Skills Partnerships to ensure supply meets the changing economic needs of Wales.
  4. Build a genuine system of lifelong learning for everyone who needs help finding work and re-training, especially those most disadvantaged. We will expand Personal Learning Accounts to allow people to study flexibly and obtain new skills.
  5. Put into law our successful social partnership approach with employers and unions to improve workers’ rights, drive up the quality of jobs and public services, and strengthen the economy.
  6. Tackle inequalities in work experienced by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities and take forward recommendations in the Race Equality Action Plan. We will progress the Fair Work Commission’s recommendations and make Wales a genuinely Fair Work Nation. We will use the new network of Disabled People’s Employment Champions to help close the gap between disabled people and the rest of the working population. 
  7. Strengthen our Economic Contract so inclusive growth, fair work, decarbonisation, and improved mental health at work are at the heart of everything we do. We will support the Wales TUC proposals for union members to become Green Representatives in the workplace. To help upskill our workforce, we will build on the success of the Wales Union Learning Fund, scrapped in England by the Tories. Using the power of the public purse, we will use all levers at our disposal to advance the fair work agenda in Wales.
  1. Use our £500m Wales Flexible Investment Fund to support economic recovery and expand the Development Bank of Wales’ patient capital funds to provide long-term lending to small and medium sized enterprises, entrepreneurs and start-ups. We will increase the use of equity stakes in business support. We will secure the creation of a Community Bank for Wales, supporting its growth so it has 30 branches across Wales over the next decade.
  2. Build on our Better Jobs Closer to Home programme and our foundational economy work to grow local economies. We will develop a Backing Local Firms Fund to support local businesses. We will provide greater support for worker buyouts and, with the cooperative sector, seek to double the number of employee-owned businesses. 
  3. With local partners, we will develop masterplans for towns and high streets to coordinate and focus economic opportunities and services, so more people work and spend time in these vibrant centres. We will empower communities to have a greater stake in local regeneration.
  4. Enable our town centres to become more agile economically, we will help businesses to work co-operatively, increase their digital offer and support local supply chains, including local delivery services. We will support the development of a register of empty buildings and help small businesses move into vacant shops.
  5. Change the way we work, rather than commuting to the office every day we will seek a 30% target for working remotely to achieve a better work-life balance. We will develop new remote working hubs in communities, increasing footfall and creating new opportunities in town centres.

The last five years have been some of the most disruptive our economy has ever faced – austerity, Brexit and coronavirus have each had a massive impact. Brexit will profoundly reshape jobs and entire industries, while the pandemic has changed the very nature of work itself. Addressing the disruption of today while preparing for the economy of tomorrow, in a sustainable and socially just way, is one of the most important tasks of our generation.

We will build a post-pandemic, post-Brexit economy that tackles the underlying structural challenges in our economy – the climate crisis; the impact of four decades of deindustrialisation; the legacy of poverty and the need for new hope, new skills, and new opportunities. All this, against the backdrop of a lost decade of UK Tory austerity that has reduced the funding available to invest in skills, training, and infrastructure to support a vibrant sustainable economy.

The future we want will not be found in the low tax, minimal regulation, shallow-protection economy the Tories believe in. It is the values of our Labour movement and the proven record of our Welsh Labour Government on which we will build the future – we will put collaboration ahead of competition; we will work in social partnership with our trade union and business colleagues to secure durable, meaningful, and fairly rewarded work.

The next Welsh Labour Government will create secure and lasting jobs as we decarbonise our economy. We will support Welsh businesses to find new export markets and create new jobs. We will invest in the sustainable green industries of tomorrow – innovative housing, renewable energy, and new digital technologies – and we will deliver our economic future with fairness and equality at the heart of everything we do. 

What we did in government

  • During the pandemic, we provided the most generous economic help for firms and employees, anywhere in the UK, worth over £2bn. Our Wales only Economic Resilience Fund has protected more than 149,000 jobs and the £100m of loan funding channelled through the Development Bank of Wales has safeguarded over 16,000 more. Our Business Wales service supported 750 entrepreneurs to start a business during the pandemic.
  • We developed a bold Covid Reconstruction Plan, backed by a £320m fund and introduced a new Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission, setting out actions to build a fairer and greener economy.
  • We are investing £40m in a new Covid Commitment - everyone over 16 who has lost their job will get the advice and support they need to get into work, training, or start their own business. 
  • We set up three new Regional Employment Response Groups to help coordinate the advice and employment support for those who lost their job during the pandemic.
  • We have created 100,000 high-quality, all-age apprenticeships and piloted new Personal Learning Accounts to help people gain new skills.
  • Over the last decade, we have helped more than 19,000 young people access good quality work through Jobs Growth Wales. 
  • We established the Fair Work Commission to ensure fair treatment at work and introduced the Ethical Code on Procurement in Supply Chains to protect workers’ rights and tackle blacklisting.
  • We repealed the Tories’ regressive anti-trade union legislation, and we enacted the Equality Act socio-economic duty.
  • We developed a new Economic Contract. For the first time fair work, higher skills and reducing our carbon footprint is at the heart of economic policy.
  • We launched an innovative new approach to the everyday economy, testing new ideas through a £4.5m Foundational Economy Fund to grow locally grounded firms. 
  • We set up the UK’s first ever Development Bank for Wales with more than £1bn of funding to support the wider economy as well as small and medium sized enterprises.
  • We cut the tax paid by every small business in Wales with permanent rates relief.
  • We backed our key industries, such as steel and aerospace, as they faced the challenges of Covid and Brexit, supporting a new £20m Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre in North Wales. 
  • We have developed a new £110m Transforming Towns approach to breathe new life into our town centres. We’ve committed £700m funding to city and growth deals in the Cardiff Capital Region, Swansea Bay, North Wales and Mid Wales.
  • We funded the appointment of disabled people’s employment champions across Wales to help employers recruit more disabled people.