The digital sector has received £1m in funding to fill skills gaps in the IT industries.
The Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Accounts programme is available to those over 19, offering eligible people the opportunity to study free and flexible courses.
The digital sector is one of these priority industries, and £1 million is being targeted by the programme to qualify and train people in digital areas such as cyber security, programming, network and cloud infrastructure and digital analysis skills.
37-year-old David Davies from Bridgend is one of the 16,000 individuals who have enrolled on a Personal Learning Account course in the last academic year.
David said: “I started in the IT industry as a service desk technical analyst, but after four years in the role, I was keen to further my career in technical networking. When I saw the Cisco CCNA ITN course, I thought it looked brilliant, and an ideal way to progress up the ladder.”
Networking courses such as the Cisco CCNA ITN are internationally recognised by employers for providing learners with the skills they need to manage, troubleshoot, and configure networks of an organisation confidently and independently.
David continued: “I decided to study at Coleg Gwent because you could attend in-person or remotely. This was perfect for me as I was trying to juggle studying alongside a busy home life with two kids. I was offered excellent support from the tutor, who was always happy to help and explain everything in detail.”
Moving up the ladder
Since completing his Personal Learning Account course, David has successfully secured a position as a Third Line Support Engineer at CGI Wales.
David said: “I started my new role back in June 2022 and wouldn’t be where I am without the help of my Personal Learning Account.
I acquired valuable hands-on experience while also extending my knowledge and understanding of the industry.
“Though you could work remotely, I was also able to attend lectures and workshops to improve my technical and problem-solving abilities and network with like-minded people. It definitely made me more aware of the industry’s job potential.”
What is a Personal Learning Account?
Personal Learning Accounts are designed to help build skills within priority sectors in Wales.
The programme is fully funded by the Welsh Government and the courses are available through 13 colleges across Wales. It offers eligible adults the chance to progress in their careers by pursuing employment in an industry that is actively looking to fill skills gaps in their workforce.
To be eligible, Welsh residents who are aged 19 or over will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:
- They are employed (including self-employed) and earning under £29,534 per annum
- They work on a zero-hour contract or are agency staff
- They are at risk of being made redundant
- Are currently an offender on day release
- There is no earning cap of £29,534 on certain approved courses or qualifications in digital or green skills.
David continued: “I’m excited to see where my Personal Learning Account course takes me next.
“I’m still keen to explore my options and continue my learning journey. The support and funding I received early on in my career has made such a huge difference and I’d encourage anyone else wanting to progress in their career to consider a Personal Learning Account.”
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “Personal Learning Accounts (PLAs) has helped people to re-train and to find the right career for them. Digital training is an area we know that employers are increasingly looking for as a skills base, and it’s fantastic to hear David’s story and how has helped him further his career.
“The PLA programme has had an excellent response since its launch, and I would encourage individuals wanting to develop their careers to find out more.”
For more information, advice and guidance, search Working Wales Personal Learning Account, visit your nearest Careers Wales Centre or call the team via 0800 028 4844.
Alternatively, you can chat with an adviser using Webchat or email the team at email@example.com