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Over the last two years there has been a drive within Cardiff Council to raise the essential skills and digital literacy skills for staff across the organisation.

With more service delivery and employee support moving to digital platforms there was a recognised need to develop the digital skills of many staff, particularly those in front line and manual positions.

The impact of the programme has been felt in many areas including workforce communications, the ability to deliver online training, workforce engagement and career transition.

One employee, Terry, who completed the essential Skills course, has gone on to undertake a higher qualification within his service area. He says, “I like that the Essential Skills course was customised for each individual. The tutor and Essential Skills team were very approachable, it was in works time and it is for all ages. It has given me confidence with IT skills this has helped me in my role as a Trade Union representative.”

The bespoke programme has developed as a partnership between Cardiff and Vale College, Cardiff Council, Wales TUC, GMB, Unite and Unison. Access and inclusion have been at the forefront of the delivery, with courses delivered at times and locations to meet the needs of frontline workers.

So far more than 115 learners have enrolled on short courses accredited by Agored Cymru, reaching all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Over the last year the Essential Skills Team have signposted many employees from the programme to progression options – at least twenty members of staff have progressed onto waste management apprenticeships.

The dedication of the Essential Skills team at Cardiff Council has been key to the success of the programme. Co-ordinating the partnership, dealing with the practicalities of arranging sessions for staff at different times and locations, securing their release from work and most importantly engaging and building the confidence of staff to take part.

Since implementing the programme Cardiff Council have invested in permanent staff roles and an ongoing Essential Skills programme across an increasing number of sites.