Careers Wales is a Welsh Assembly funded organisation charged with delivering systems and associated Websites for three education and workplace initiatives designed to help school leavers and those entering the workplace for the first time the chance to get work experience, apprenticeships and Job placements with Welsh Assembly assistance.
Following completion of the Work Experience System, Careers Wales wished to create an appealing and easy to use ‘Apprentice Matching Service’ website and backend system to match employers, apprentices and training providers through a vacancy management system accessible to each group through unique portals. Employers could post vacancies, schools recommend and students apply all through the website. Matching would then take place based on suitability, preference, and availability with interviews to follow.
Ultimedia designed a workflow driven system with different membership area for Employers, Training Organisations and Apprentices where each group could advertise or apply for positions and be matched through the service. In 2012/13 over 28,000 people in Wales started apprenticeships up from 17,900 in 2011/12. As a result of the ready acceptance by users and the dramatic increase in the number of apprentices hired, the Welsh Assembly asked Careers Wales to develop the ‘Job Growth Wales’ program. Ultimedia developed the program as an extension of the Apprentice Matching Service where Careers Wales could offer job opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds by guaranteeing the first 6 months at minimum wage for employers.
Both programs have been an outstanding success. In addition to the dramatic increase in the number of apprentices, Jobs Growth Wales is expected to support the creation of almost 9,000 new jobs in a three year period and the success of the program has garnered an additional £25 million from European Structural Funding. According to the Department of Skills and Technology, and as a result of these programs, youth unemployment is falling faster in Wales than the UK as a whole.