Thousands in Cardiff & Vale could be eligible for free courses to help them retrain

As part of the Welsh Government programme, Cardiff and Vale College is running several 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.

To be eligible for free training to rewrite their career, people are required to set up a Personal Learning Account.

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.

Cardiff and Vale College’s complete range of Personal Learning Account courses can be found at www.cavc.ac.uk/PLA.

For more information about Personal Learning Accounts, scroll down.

Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said:

“As we start the New Year, many of us will be looking into ways we can boost our career. The impact of the pandemic has hit many industries hard, which has meant many people have been looking at ways in which they can reskill or upskill.

“Personal Learning Accounts are designed to help those who are employed but who are most vulnerable. If your job has been identified as at risk or you’re on furlough or a zero hours contract, accessing a free account can open the door to giving you the skills and qualifications you will need in the sectors that are expected to create job opportunities.

“The courses are all free and have been developed by colleges in partnership with local employers. The input from employers means the courses are responsive to the skills that employers need now and in the future to close existing skills shortages.”

Kay Martin, Principal at Cardiff and Vale College, said:

“Each year thousands of adults study a course with Cardiff and Vale College to boost their skills, and progress or change their career. The launch of Personal Learning Accounts means we are able to offer more adults in our region the opportunity to do this and gain a qualification for free.

“With so many adults across our region seeing their career impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, these new courses and our new dedicated team of advisors can support you to take up a Personal Learning Account and access free training.

I would encourage anyone that is currently on furlough, at risk of being made redundant, or is likely to see their career or business negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to get in touch. Browse the courses available, chat with one of our new adult advisors, and start a flexible online training programme that will give you valuable skills and qualifications to boost your career or make a completely fresh start.”

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.