Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner says thousands of new ‘future-fit' jobs could be created if the Welsh Government embraces a radical vision for Wales.

Sophie Howe believes progressive ideas and the amplification of under-heard voices will be vital in helping people into the secure and fulfilling work needed for the country to recover from the pandemic.

Setting out her ‘future focussed’ programme for the new Welsh Government, Ms Howe pointed to the fact that newly unemployed people in the UK are disproportionately made up of people aged under 25.

She has called for the Government to rethink the way the economy works while asking 'who benefits from it?'

She has urged the creation of meaningful work that allows Wales to tackle the climate emergency via ideas such as involving creativity in the recovery and a National Nature Service.

What is being proposed?

• Building the power of culture and creativity into Covid recovery.

• Increasing opportunities for people to learn throughout their life.

• Targeting skills programmes in future-focused industries, towards women, disabled people, Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, and those furthest from the labour market.

• Prioritising investment and job creation in a green and care-led recovery –paying care workers the real living wage.

• Investing in other industries for recovery, such as housing decarbonisation and transport. 

• Setting a long-term investment plan for making homes more energy efficient – saving people on energy bills and creating jobs. Eradicating fuel poverty in the next decade, through doubling fuel poverty funding.

• Launching a National Nature Service to provide skills and create jobs, increasing opportunities for social prescribing (where patients receive non-clinical support in the community), while restoring Wales’ natural environment such as forests, countryside and green spaces, helping Wales become the world’s first eco-literate nation. 

The commissioner said the Welsh Government’s new ‘Climate Ministry’ along with a commitment to a Universal Basic Income pilot showed a commitment to new ideas, but warned there was work to be done.

Ms Howe said: “Covid recovery needs bold, whole-government solutions to ensure access to decent, meaningful and fair work, especially for young people worried about their future.

“We have to make sure that everyone can take advantage of new green job opportunities, and that we have the right skills and training in place for that to happen. At the moment, the gaps on skills and lack of diversity is worrying and opportunities are being missed.

“My plan sets out the policy actions needed for more joined-up thinking, with the help of the people and skills we already have in our communities, from volunteers to businesses, artists and creatives.

“Done right, we can create opportunities for life, improving our health today and restoring our natural environment for communities and generations to come.”

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The future generation commissioner role is the first of its kind in the world, created following the introduction of the Well-being of Future Generations Act in 2015.

The legislation requires the Government to work towards seven well-being goals, including a healthier and more equal Wales, using five 'ways of working' including using a long-term approach to problems.

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