I would first like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

I am hopeful that 2022 will be brighter than the last two years, as we see more people taking up their vaccinations and booster jabs.

I look forward to working with people and businesses across Caerphilly to support them in this stage of the pandemic.

There will likely be continued problems with staffing in the coming weeks as a result of the fast spreading omicron variant and the need for isolation, but I hope that we will soon be in a much more promising position as we move towards the end of the winter season. In the meantime, I would ask that we all continue to be patient with our public services staff who are really feeling the pressure at the moment.

In other news, I am delighted to share that after a challenging year for the sector, GE Aviation Wales is offering a new apprenticeship scheme.

The scheme will be a three-year programme run in partnership with Coleg Y Cymoedd, in the areas of Engineering and Business Administration. Applications are open now and will be until the end of January. You can find more information here: jobs.gecareers.com/global/en/home.

If you are looking for work or training this new year, the team at Educ8 are extremely helpful and provide a wide range of apprenticeships and vocational training programmes. Based in Ystrad Mynach, they can also advise on funding for training if you have recently been made redundant. The learning can be carried out flexibly, which is brilliant if you are trying to fit it in around home or work life, or have other commitments. You can find more on their website here: www.educ8training.co.uk/

My team and I will be working remotely over the coming weeks, in line with the move to alert level two in Wales.

We continue to be available via email and telephone and can still conduct meetings virtually or outdoors, so if you feel there is an issue I could help with, please do get in touch.