Start-up turns to Skills Gateway for Business for support and guidance
The founder of a Pontypool-based welding and fabrication business that has grown significantly over the last five years is encouraging other employers across Wales to invest in upskilling their staff through a Welsh Government campaign.
ProWeld SW is one of many businesses across Wales supporting a campaign to promote Skills Gateway for Business, highlighting to employers the importance of investing in the skills development of their workforce.
Founder and managing director, Jeff Evans, has invested in the recruitment of both skilled and unskilled staff to improve the efficiency of his business while also managing its growth and development.
Jeff said: “I set up the business five years ago and up until last year I found that I was able to manage the workload on my own. However, in the past 12 months, the business has really grown and I started to struggle to keep on top of it all. I was even turning away new business, which is when I realised it was time to invest in taking on more members of staff."
“I wanted to take on a young, unskilled labourer who I could train up in the right skills and qualifications to support me, so I started considering a range of different recruitment avenues. I’d heard a lot of positive things about the Jobs Growth Wales programme so was keen to give that a try and in September last year, I took on a school leaver, Rhodri Herbert. He had no previous experience of working in the welding industry but he was enthusiastic, hard-working and willing to learn."
“Rhodri has come on in leaps and bounds over the last year and has developed a whole range of basic welding skills. He is now a very competent welder and can pretty much handle any task I throw at him. I’m really impressed with what he has learned in such a short period of time but I also recognise that he needs some formal qualifications, so I’ve enrolled him on to an apprenticeship in welding and fabrication starting next year."
“I’ve also recruited another more experienced and accomplished welder to help me out with the more challenging jobs and he is a fantastic mentor for Rhodri. They have both proved to be real assets to the business."
“I’m really pleased with our growth to date and I’m now looking at potentially expanding the team further so have turned to the Skills Gateway for Business website for help and support. I’m currently weighing up the options of either recruiting someone to manage my admin or another welder who I can train up to support on client work, while I manage the admin myself."
“Since the business started to grow, it has been great to have a resource like Skills Gateway for Business to refer to for guidance. I’d recommend it to anyone who needs a little bit of help and direction but it’s particularly good for small businesses like mine that can experience sudden bursts of growth and want to find out what resources are available to them.”
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said “ProWeld SW is a brilliant example of how investing in skills can really help businesses to develop and grow while also creating more employment and progression opportunities for staff."
“The Skills Gateway for Business offers advice and guidance for employers wanting to grow their business, or simply retain their skills base. Whether that’s a micro-business that may have started on someone’s dining room table to a larger business with hundreds of employees, we’re encouraging all employers across Wales to engage with the programmes and services that are available."
“The Welsh Government is committed to providing a resilient, responsive and sustainable skills and employment offering for Wales, which responds to local needs. The Skills Gateway for Business website, Skills Advisers and the online Skills Profile are all valuable tools that can help employers, which in turn will help us to reach our goal.”
For employers looking for more information on how they can improve the skills of their workers, visit businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway or call the Business Wales helpline on 03000 6 03000.