A number of ways that skills gaps could be improved in Wales were discussed at a recent conference.

The National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW) conference panel discussed how to create connections between children in primary and secondary schools and apprenticeship providers to fill skill gaps.

The conference brought together Ben Cottam, head of FSB in Wales; Helena Williams, corporate development director of ALS and ACT; Leigh Hughes, the Cardiff Capital Region Skills Partnership (RSP) chair and Liam Owen, Wales operational manager for Frog Bikes in Pontypool.

The panel considered how to engage schools, students and their parents about potential opportunities and career pathways through apprenticeships.

Mr Cottam said the challenge for the FSB and its members was how they responded to and accessed the pipeline of talent in schools.

Mr Owen suggested local authorities could offer business rate relief to employers employing apprentices.

Mr Hughes said the best way to engage with young people is to put them first by listening to what they want and publishing material in language they can understand.

Meanwhile, Mrs Williams mentioned ALS and ACT's current partnerships with 22 schools to deliver vocational training, adding that work-based learning providers are eager to work with the FSB to educate SMEs about apprenticeships.

At the conference's end, Lisa Mytton, NTFW strategic director, said: "The new curriculum in Wales requires us all to engage with children and teachers to help them understand that apprenticeships are available for every capability."

She added that it is essential to continue promoting the Welsh Government's message that pursuing an apprenticeship is a 'genius decision.’