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News & Press: International Trade News

Welsh government provides training funds for redundant workers – including customs-related courses

21 May 2020  
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online training funding

The Welsh government is providing up to £1,500 of grant funding for recently made redundant workers to take training courses to help them gain employment post-lockdown.

The ‘ReAct’ funding could go towards the cost of training courses in international customs processes and regulation – such as those provided by the IOE&IT and UK Customs Academy – should those applying be looking to gain these skills towards new employment.

Export opportunity

In 2019, £10.7 billion of Welsh products were exported to the EU, according to the Welsh Government.

“Businesses exporting out of Wales into Europe will need a greater understanding of how international trade works after the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020,” said Marco Forgione, director general of the IOE&IT.

“For example, Welsh exporters will need to be able to complete customs declarations to export goods into the EU – something which IOE&IT training courses teach.”

The funding is available to those based in Wales who:

  1. Have become unemployed in the last three months or are currently unemployed as a result of redundancy but who have not been in continuous unemployment for over six weeks
  2. Are currently under notice of redundancy
  3. Have not yet taken publicly funded training since being made redundant

Furlough

As of 10 May there were 7.5 million people in the UK on furlough, according to Statista, while ONS figures showed the number of people claiming unemployment benefits soared to 2.1 million in April.

Employees are allowed do training while on furlough, as the Daily Update recently clarified, as long as this training does not provide services to or for the employer, or generate revenue for the employer.

However, there is currently no funding in place in the UK for furloughed staff to train in customs-related training courses.

A spokesman for the Welsh government told the Daily Update (21st May) that ReAct funding cannot go towards training for furloughed workers.

Customs skills needed

It has been widely reported that some 50,000 additional customs staff will be needed to process the additional paperwork required for trade with the EU after the end of the Brexit transition on 31 December 2020, although the IOE&IT estimates the number is far greater than this.

There are government grant schemes for businesses to gain customs-related skills, but these can only be applied for by the business and not their employees, including those on furlough.

The IOE&IT has been lobbying government to address this, seeing furlough as an opportunity for employees to gain the customs-skills their businesses will need for trade post-Brexit.