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Wales Labour Market Summit 2016 (WLMSII)

Dylan Williams, head of Regulatory and Economic Development at Isle of Anglesey County Council, was one of the speakers at the second Wales Labour Market Summit (WLMSII) - a free knowledge exchange event which took place at Bangor University recently. 

Mr Williams profiled the major transformational projects on the horizon for North Wales and Anglesey, and offered insights into how North Wales can take advantage of the supply chain opportunities offered by such developments.

The summit provided a platform for debating and informing policy interventions in response to large-scale job losses across traditional industries and likewise how policy makers can sustainably respond to large-scale investment and job opportunities - such as those projects currently under development across Anglesey and coastal North Wales.

This year's theme, "Comparing policy interventions to challenge business as usual" saw speakers focusing on three key areas - workplace innovation, labour market supply chains, and job quality.

Speakers at the event included Tuomo Alasoini, from Finland, who both successes and ongoing challenges in promoting workplace innovation in the Nordic context over the past two decades. Professor Patricia Findlay of Strathclyde University discussed the Fair Work Convention and efforts to support workplace innovation in Scotland,, while Professors Karel Williams (Manchester Business School) and Ian Rees Jones (WISERD, Cardiff University) shared their research into adult care across the UK. Their research identifies chronic problems with the formatting, provision, and delivery of residential and domestic care and they argue that there is a need for experimentation and radical social innovation.

Professor Frank Peck, Director of the Centre for Regional Economic Development at the University of Cumbria, focused on the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain at the Sellafield industrial site in West Cumbria, in particular how changes in procurement processes are creating new challenges for local businesses and why these issues are relevant to policy makers in other nuclear-dependent local economies. Professor Alan Felstead, from Cardiff University, explored the state of job quality in Britain and specifically Wales; highlighting the importance of considering criteria such as training, over-qualification and under-use of skills, work intensity, and work anxiety as opposed to focusing on whether or not people are in work and, if so, what level of pay they receive. Finally, Dr Alexandra Plows (Bangor University) brought the focus back to Anglesey and North Wales, discussing how economic shocks and strains have impacted the regions between 2009 and 2016.

The event, which was funded by Bangor University’s Economic  & Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account, culminated with a panel-style debate, and an energetic exchange of ideas on the question of "What can or should be done to move beyond ‘business as usual’ with labour market policy?"  The debate touched on the issues of improving job quality, developing sustainable labour markets, finding opportunities in the post-Brexit economy, the possibility of a 'Welsh Mittelstand', and seeking a better understanding of why small family-owned business sometimes chose not to grow. 

Publication date: 21 September 2016