Welcome to the October 2020 'Need to Know' update. You'll find the latest key information on employment issues, the end of the Transition period, exporting, public procurement and world trade issues.
The Government has expanded the Skills Toolkit and committed to making higher education in England more flexible to facilitate lifelong learning
The Government has announced a major expansion of post-18 education and training as will look to strengthening the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by prioritising jobs and skills.
The Prime Minister has previously said Government will do “absolutely everything” it can to get people back into jobs.
The announcement outlined:
- Lifetime skills guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers
- New entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain and enhancing the nation’s technical skills.
- Adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course - providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them. This offer will be available from April in England and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be set out shortly.
- Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.
- Commitment of £8m for digital skills boot camps; expanding successful pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and introducing programmes in four new locations. From next year, boot camps will be extended to sectors like construction and engineering.
You can read more about this at: https://bit.ly/3jiomCG
Welsh businesses set for virtual marketing visit to Qatar
Twenty Welsh businesses are set to showcase their products to companies from one of the richest countries in the world in a virtual export market visit to Doha, Qatar.
The Welsh Government organised virtual visit will see businesses – including companies producing the likes of medical devices, textiles and high quality food – build business contacts with potential partners and customers in Doha.
The multi-sector trade visit would have ordinarily been held in person with businesses travelling from Wales to Doha, but is being held virtually this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
This virtual export market visit starts today (28 September) and will take place over the next four weeks, with the Welsh Government working with its Doha office to organise a series of meetings for the Welsh businesses and providing tailored support.
It is hoped businesses taking part in the virtual market visit will gain valuable contacts from their respective industries and boost their exports in this important market, where the value of goods exports from Wales to Qatar has increased by over 85% since 2015.
The visit will include virtual market briefings, one-to-one support from Welsh Government and inclusion in digital marketing.
Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language Eluned Morgan said: “This virtual visit will hopefully provide a significant boost in our exports to Doha.
“It is unfortunate businesses can’t visit Doha in person this year, but carrying out the visit remotely offers new opportunities and greater flexibility to those taking part.
“We are determined to support Welsh businesses in every way we can and helping them overcome the challenges they face in these difficult times.
“After leaving the European Union it is more important than ever that Welsh businesses explore new markets. This virtual market visit is an example of the innovative ways we are looking at to provide help to businesses to explore markets around the world.”
You can read more at: https://bit.ly/30kQKwh
New Trader Support Service is launched for end of Transition period
The government is urging businesses to sign up to new Trader Support Service with fewer than 100 days until end of Transition period.
The new Trader Support Service is now live for business, providing education and guidance for traders moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol, including between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Tens of thousands of traders will start to receive emails and letters from today (28 September 2020), with details on the launch of the Trader Support Service and its benefits for UK businesses.
The free-to-use digital service will help businesses and traders of all sizes to navigate the changes to the way goods move once the Northern Ireland Protocol comes into effect on 1 January 2021.
Traders who sign up to the Trader Support Service will be guided through the new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol and can also use it to complete digital declarations.
The service will:
- provide a free end-to-end support package to manage import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders.
- educate businesses on what the protocol means for them, and the steps they need to take to comply with it. This will include online training sessions and webinars, with information being continually updated as we move closer to 1 January 2021
- be available to businesses moving goods into Northern Ireland under new processes in the Northern Ireland Protocol that start from 1 January 2021
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, said: “The new free-to-use Trader Support Service, launching today, will provide crucial support and guidance to businesses moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Backed by up to £200 million of UK government funding, it reflects our deep commitment to support the Northern Ireland economy and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
“With little over 3 months to go until the end of the transition period, it is vital that traders sign up and take advantage of the scheme, so that they can continue to trade seamlessly and seize new opportunities on 1 January 2021.”
Traders choosing to sign up for Trader Support Service can do so at GOV.UK. They will receive full guidance and support on the next steps to take ahead of January 1, 2021.
The consortium delivering the Trader Support Service has expertise across the range of services needed to make it an effective and successful service. This includes the Institute of Export & International Trade, an existing provider of customs education, and the Customs Clearance Consortium, an established customs intermediary.
Recruitment is now commencing for a range of positions to deliver the Trader Support Service, creating employment and training opportunities across the UK.
Educational material will also be available via the Trader Support Service to those importing goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the world.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, all Northern Ireland businesses will continue to have unfettered access to the whole UK market.
You can read more at: https://bit.ly/3jisJh5
New measures to deliver value to society through public procurement
Businesses seeking to win government work must set out how they will also deliver social value priorities, following new measures launched recently.
The new measures launched will promote new jobs and skills, encourage economic growth and prosperity, tackle climate change and level up the UK.
The social value in the procurement model will be used by government departments to assess a supplier’s social impact.
The new approach will mean more opportunities for SMEs and social enterprises to win Government contracts by demonstrating the full extent of the value they would generate.
Value for money will still be paramount, but a bidder’s social value score will be incorporated into assessment of contracts.
Government departments will use the social value model to assess and score suppliers on the wider positive benefits they bring by delivering the contract. This will mean that value for money for the taxpayer can be maximised while also building a more resilient and diverse supplier base.
The social value model which departments will assess contracts on includes:
- Supporting COVID-19 recovery, including helping local communities manage and recover from the impact of COVID
- Tackling economic inequality, including creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience
- Fighting climate change and reducing waste
- Driving equal opportunity, including reducing the disability employment gap and tackling workforce inequality Improving health and wellbeing and community integration
The new approach will apply tests that all bidders, irrespective of their size and type, will be capable of meeting and therefore further levels the playing field for the UK’s small businesses, start-ups and voluntary and community sector organisations and social enterprises.
At the heart of these new social value measures is supporting businesses and communities.
The new measures launched at the end of September will come into effect on 1st January 2021.
Arnab Dutt, the chair of the Social Value Policy Unit at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “I welcome the announcement on social value procurement as an important step forward for public sector supply chains. Its focus on addressing economic inequality, the climate emergency and societal wellbeing is a 21st century agenda.
“Social value has the potential to be transformational in bringing opportunity to all parts of our country and to the many small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities.
“The Federation of Small Businesses continues to help shape policy for a dynamic ecosystem for our UK SMEs in collaboration with the public sector, acknowledging that the government’s SME growth agenda and social value policy go hand in hand.”
You can read more at: https://bit.ly/3cQINUL