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Carmarthenshire

£30 million boost for developing skills in South West Wales

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A £30 million Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme for South West Wales has been approved by the UK Government and Welsh Government

The regional programme will provide opportunities for thousands of people to access skills opportunities and will support businesses to grow through developing a talented workforce across the Swansea Bay Region focussing on industries with high demand for workers.

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Opportunities will be aligned to areas of growth and regional strengths such as the digital, construction, energy, health and wellbeing and smart manufacturing sectors with opportunities for upskilling the current workforce as well as preparing the next generation for jobs of the future in the locality. 

Over the next decade the Skills and Talent programme aims to deliver 2,200 additional skills and development opportunities by helping around 14,000 people upskill. Additionally, at least 3000 new apprenticeship opportunities will be created. The programme will also create centres of excellence within the focus sectors to develop the region as being the “best area” to learn the skill.

In partnership with training providers across the region including Local Authorities, Schools, Colleges, Universities and businesses, the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership will lead the programme to identify skill gaps in relation to local industry needs, and education and training solutions will put in place to meet these demands, with the aim to create a clear pathway from school education through to employment. Investment will be made in course frameworks to ensure there is a match with training needs for future job opportunities.

The skill requirements and training will also be closely aligned with other City Deal projects that are currently in procurement or in the delivery stage to maximise job opportunities for people across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, County of Swansea, and Neath Port Talbot.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “The Skills and Talent programme will underpin the other eight projects and programmes across the whole City Deal portfolio by mapping the skills gaps and analysing the training needs for the City Deal projects. Identifying the skills gaps across the five main themes – construction, digital, energy, health and wellbeing and smart manufacturing – will help us to shape and deliver the skills needed for the future.

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“Working collaboratively with stakeholders and partners we will deliver the training and upskilling required, particularly with schools across the region to highlight opportunities and develop clear pathways for our young people so that they can make the right choices for their future. We will also establish Centres of Excellence that will create a legacy for the programme and establish the region as the best place to learn specific sector skills.

“The most crucial part of the programme is the opportunities it will provide students, employees and employers to grow and be part of our regional economy. It will support the development of individuals through learning new skills, apprenticeships, course frameworks and provide career pathways from school education, to further and higher education and into employment.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, added, “This approval means eight of the nine City Deal projects and programmes have now been approved for the benefit of residents and businesses throughout the City Region.

“The skills and talent programme is a key feature of the major investment as it will put pathways in place for local people to access thousands of well-paid jobs in sectors like life sciences, renewable energy and digital innovation.

“This is important as it will boost regional prosperity, while encouraging more young people from our region to pursue careers right here in South West Wales instead of moving elsewhere.

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“Many projects being part-funded by the City Deal are also now under way, which will help accelerate our region’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said, “In a rapidly changing economic landscape, it’s vital we provide high-quality opportunities for workers in Wales to gain the skills and experiences they need for the jobs of today and the challenges of tomorrow. This will be key in helping Wales return to the levels of economic growth we enjoyed prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am delighted the Welsh Government is supporting the Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme, which will help create thousands of opportunities for people across South West Wales to upskill and retrain.

 “The Welsh Government remains fully committed to doing everything possible to kick-start a strong Welsh recovery based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future.”

UK Government Minister in Wales, David TC Davies added, “I am delighted to approve this multi-million pound investment in the skills and talent of people in the Swansea Bay City Region. The UK Government is helping to train and retain local talent to work in the skilled and well-paid jobs that this City Deal is creating. Today’s announcement is especially great news for young people, who can look forward to more opportunities in the future”

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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