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Boosting Skills, Boosting Growth, Boosting Wales

Welsh Government's Skills Growth Wales scheme has helped Wolfestone to invest heavily in job creation and staff training.
boosting-skills-boosting-growth-boosting-wales-wolfestone-200The Welsh Government’s Skills Growth Wales scheme has helped a Swansea-based translation business to invest heavily in job creation and staff training and become one of the fastest growing companies in Wales. Anna Bastek, co-founder of Wolfestone Translation and a winner of the Swansea Bay Woman of the Year Award, says the support received under the European-funded programme has been a major factor in helping the company move up to 14th place in Wales’s Fast Growth 50 rankings. Training funded by Skills Growth Wales has helped Wolfestone to add innovative services such as multilingual voiceovers, desktop publishing, transcription and website translation. New markets have been successfully penetrated and new jobs have been steadily created. Anna is proud to have made Wolfestone a market leader by recruiting and training a local workforce: “Thanks to this funding we’ve been able to bring cutting-edge skills in-house. Not only can we avoid unnecessary outsourcing costs and maintain quality control on our projects, we can also offer an excellent career path to local employees. We’ve been able to recruit additional project managers, translators, sales and marketing people, book-keepers and studio engineers. High quality leadership training has added value to our management team, and in line with our commitment to continuous professional development we’ve developed performance management systems designed to bring out the best in everyone we employ. This is reflected by our shortlisting for the Chamber of Commerce Awards in the ‘Skills & People Development’ category”. Wolfestone’s turnover continues to grow in line with its commitment to staff development. Turnover growth of by almost 500% between 2008 and 2011 with further projected rise this year. Alun Davies, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy Minister for European programmes, sees Wolfestone’s success as a perfect example of what can be achieved when EU funding is channelled towards progressive Welsh companies: “The private sector is critical to the growth of our economy and the success of the European programmes – after all it is businesses that create jobs. EU funds are providing Welsh businesses like Wolfestone Translation with extra impetus, allocating resources in difficult times and helping them prepare for future opportunities. While the funds are not a miracle solution to the challenges we face, they provide on average £270 million a year to Wales and have already helped us to create 10,000 jobs and some 2,000 new businesses. Looking ahead I want to ensure we maximise benefits for more businesses and create more jobs.” Anna is happy to pay tribute to the part that Skills for Growth has played in this success story: “Thanks to Skills for Growth, our investment in technology has been mirrored by investment in staff training. We’re moving forward by using the most effective tools and giving our people the most effective training to utilise them. What this means to our customers is faster turnaround times, greater efficiency and lower costs. We also invest in ongoing customer service training. Our people believe in performing every aspect of their jobs as well as possible, whether they’re translating a document or returning a phone call.” As Alun Davies prepares to report to the Welsh Assembly on proposals for future EU structural funding, Anna looks forward to the continuation of this fruitful partnership: “The Welsh Assembly Government has set out a strategy to support business growth and job creation, and speaking for Wolfestone I must say they’ve done an excellent job supporting us. Skills for Growth has helped us to add value for ourselves, for our clients and for the region. Long may it continue”. The Skills Growth Wales programme has committed over £3.2m to support more than 2,000 individuals across 22 companies. Backed by the European Social Fund under the Structural Funds programmes 2007-2013, it is a successor programme to ProAct, which has also funded through ESF and helped 10,500 workers in 250 companies.

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