Thousands of people in North East Wales could now be eligible for free courses to help them retrain

Thousands of people in North East Wales could now eligible for free training to rewrite their career by setting up a Personal Learning Account.

As part of the Welsh Government programme, Coleg Cambria is running courses in sectors that are ripe for job opportunities, including construction, finance, IT, health and safety, project management and engineering.

The programme is aimed at those who are currently on furlough, on a zero hours contract, or whose job is at risk, providing they are 19 or over and earning under £26,000.

Following a successful pilot with Coleg Gwent and Grwp Llandrillo Menai which saw around 500 people across Wales enrol on fully-funded part-time courses, Personal Learning Accounts are now being rolled out nationally to help thousands of people in Wales boost their skills and employability.

All courses have been specifically designed to match skills gaps already identified in priority sectors in Wales. Employers and stakeholders have worked in partnership with colleges to develop courses that are relevant to sectors which are expected to create job opportunities now or in the near future.

All courses are part-time and are truly flexible, designed for study around other commitments such as a current job. Many are being delivered online meaning learners can study remotely and in the evenings and weekends.

Some of the courses running at Coleg Cambria throughout January and February include courses in Leadership and Project management, Health and Safety, Digital, Computing, IT and Coding skills. The full list of courses is available here.

Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said:

“The impact of the pandemic has unfortunately affected many industries, with many people looking at ways to gain new work skills, perhaps at their local college.

“Personal Learning Accounts are designed to help people in employment and whose jobs may be at risk. If you’re worried about the certainty of your employment, or you’re on furlough or a zero hours contract, accessing a free Personal Learning Account could provide you with the skills and qualifications to embark on a new and rewarding career.

“As we work towards a Welsh right to lifelong learning, the PLAs show what can be achieved for individuals, the economy and the country as a whole.”

Yana Williams, CEO at Coleg Cambria, said: ““We’re very pleased to be part of the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Accounts programme and have been working with employers and stakeholders in north east Wales to develop a range of free courses that are relevant, useful and meet local skills shortages.  We are fully committed to support and strengthen our communities, especially during such uncertain times, and we hope that these courses will enable local people to develop new skills and gain qualifications leading to new and worthwhile job opportunities.”

For more information about courses at Coleg Cambria visit: https://www.cambria.ac.uk/personal-learning-account/

All you need to know about Personal Learning Accounts

What is it?

Setting up a Personal Learning Account gives you access to free training that will help improve your job prospects and overall career. Choose from over 1,000 courses across 10 sectors such as construction, finance, digital, health and social care and engineering, and study from home online around your other commitments.

Who is eligible?

Anyone over the age of 19 earning under £26,000 or anyone who is currently on furlough, on a zero hours contract, or has been told their job is at risk.

How do I apply?

Apply for a Personal Learning Account through Working Wales and speak to a local advisor. Call 0800 028 4844 or visit www.workingwales.gov.wales/contact-us  for more information.

How much does it cost?

It’s free! All college courses under the Personal Learning Accounts programme are funded by Welsh Government. The only costs you will need to cover are your own expenses if you need to travel.

What courses can I do?

There are hundreds of courses on offer with all colleges in Wales. Visit the colleges’ own websites for more information.

Choose from qualifications in:

  • Accounting
  • Business and management
  • Construction
  • IT and digital
  • Engineering
  • Photography
  • Customer service
  • Advanced materials and manufacturing
  • Retail, tourism and leisure
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Health and social care
  • Food and land based
  • Energy and environment

Do I have to go to my local college or can I study anywhere in Wales?

Many colleges are delivering teaching online only which may mean you can explore beyond your local college.  However, be aware that face-to-face learning may be required during the duration of your course so you will need to consider travel times and costs.

For more information, visit www.workingwales.gov.wales/personal-learning-account or contact Careers Wales on 0800 028 4844.