Unemployed in Wales can get funding for training to gain key export skills


Unemployed in Wales can get funding for training to gain key export skills ahead of full Brexit


  • UK including Wales has big shortfall in customs agents
  • Welsh Government grant for training can go towards courses on customs skills 

Funding to help recently unemployed workers in Wales do skills training can go towards courses on the customs expertise needed after full Brexit, the Welsh government has confirmed.

As the UK government prepares for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, a shortfall has been identified of at least 50,000 customs agents needed to manage new procedures.

One estimate puts the likely increase in annual customs declarations as rising from 55 million a year to more than 300 million after the transition period ends.

Export know-how

Courses such as those provided by the IOE&IT and UK Customs Academy provide an opportunity to gain the export know-how that Welsh businesses will need as the UK ceases to operate within the EU Customs Union.

Through the ReAct scheme, the Welsh government provides up to £1,500 of grant funding for recently made redundant workers to take training courses that will help them gain employment post-lockdown.

A representative at ReAct has confirmed that this funding can go towards the cost of training courses in international customs processes and regulation — should those applying be looking to gain these skills towards new employment.

Export opportunity

In 2019, £10.7 billion of Welsh products were exported to the EU, according to the Welsh Government.

“Businesses exporting out of Wales into Europe will need a greater understanding of how international trade works after the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020,” said Marco Forgione, director general of the IOE&IT.

“For example, Welsh exporters will need to be able to complete customs declarations to export goods into the EU – something which IOE&IT training courses teach.”

The funding is available to those based in Wales who:

  1. Have become unemployed in the last three months or are currently unemployed as a result of redundancy but who have not been in continuous unemployment for over six weeks
  2. Are currently under notice of redundancy
  3. Have not yet taken publicly funded training since being made redundant

Customs skills needed

It has been widely reported that some 50,000 additional customs staff will be needed to process the additional paperwork required for trade with the EU after the end of the Brexit transition on 31 December 2020, although the IOE&IT estimates the number is far greater than this.

There are government grant schemes for businesses to gain customs-related skills, but these can only be applied for by the business and not their employees, including those on furlough.

The IOE&IT has been lobbying government to address this, seeing furlough as an opportunity for employees across the whole of the UK – including Wales – to gain the customs-skills their businesses will need for trade post-Brexit.