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‘Time to focus on employment’ says minister

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edwina hartEDWINA HART MBE made a statement on behalf of the Welsh Government regarding Murco Refinery: The minister said: “I am today, as agreed, updating Members on Murco Refi nery following my statement last week. This is a diffi cult time for the employees of the company, their families and the wider community in Pembrokeshire. We now need to focus on doing all we can maximise the opportunities for employment at the site, and ensure the employment and skills are retained for the future prosperity of the region.

Yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Murco task force. We discussed a range of issues, including support for the Murco employees and contractors, business support, the role of Enterprise Zones, and issues with connectivity and transport. In terms of support for the employees, we will of course provide support for those facing redundancy through our React programmes. I have been asked by the task force to consider the use of the ProAct scheme which has been used to great effect in the past, and I have instructed offi cials to consider the proposal and provide me with further advice.

We will also be working with the CBI and other business leaders to on opportunities across the sector to bring employers together with prospective employees. We will therefore be holding a series of events, starting with a “Jobs fayre” event on December 10 at the Bridge Innovation Centre. We have taken immediate measures to ensure that the Apprentices on site can continue their learning pathway.

I am very grateful to Valero for agreeing to offer placements to all of the Murco apprentices onto their excellent apprenticeship programme so they can maintain their studies. The task force will also be taking forward a work programme that maximises the skills and training activities on site to support both the employers and the wider contractor workforce with opportunities to up-skill so that that they are able to transfer their skills and enter new sectors. I will be working the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology to take this work forward. We will also continue to support business growth in the area. Business Wales will offer an enhanced service from their Pembroke Dock offi ces and will be providing an additional presence on the high-street to ensure that we provide advice and support to local businesses to explore new markets and for those wishing to set up in business.

I will be introducing a special round of the Welsh Economic Growth Fund that will be open to support businesses in creating and safeguarding employment in Pembrokeshire. That £3 million fund will sit alongside a £500,000 new round of the SME Growth Fund that I am committing to, aimed at supporting smaller and microsized companies to maximise the employment and growth opportunities in the region. We will of course be exploring the use of European monies to meet our goals and be working with the UK Government to consider the use of the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The energy sector is integral to the economic fabric of the local area and is a specifi c priority of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.

Today I am announcing the appointment of Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE as the new Chair of Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone. Mr McIlvenny is the current Chief Executive and Company Secretary of Port of Waterford Company, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the port sector across shipping, logistics, warehousing, rail and fl eet transport. Mr McIlvenny will take up this position with immediate effect and will Chair tomorrow’s meeting of the Enterprise Zone Board.I know Mr McIIvenny will be keen to give early consideration to the boundaries of the Zone and the opportunities it can deliver in light of the Murco announcement.

I am also keen that we look at how we enhance connectivity within the area to promote business opportunities. I have specifi cally accelerated the Superfast Cymru project to bring early benefi ts to the Haven Enterprise Zone. Good progress is already being made with nearly 23,000 premises in the area already able to receive superfast broadband services. We are also fi nalising the details of how we can provide additional telecommunications support to businesses in Enterprise Zones, and the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology will be making an announcement on this later in the month. In terms of transport links, I have been asked by the task force to consider the issue of the duallling of the A40.

I have instructed my offi cials to accelerate, to the full extent possible, the programme for delivering improvements at Llandewi Velfrey. I have also asked my offi cials to conduct further, urgent work, to explore additional ways to improve the A40, including the potential for dualling. This work will be complete within 6 months. As a government we are determined to do everything in our power to support the workforce and the local economy of Pembrokeshire and will explore every avenue with the company and partners to maximise the economic opportunities for the region. As part of this, I have decided to enhance the Memberships of the task force to bring in additional expertise.

I have asked Roger Evans MBE to Chair the task force. Roger is Managing Director and Plant Director at Schaeffl er and is a member of the St Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone Board. I am grateful to Roger for agreeing to take up this challenge. I know his years of experience in the sector and personal commitment will provide to drive this agenda forward at pace. I have also asked Emma Watkins, Director of CBI Wales to join the group. Emma’s background and expertise will help us link in with anchor companies across Wales. Roger and Emma will work alongside the existing membership of the task force, which includes representatives from Murphy Oil Corporation, Murco, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire College, Unite the Union, and the Welsh and UK Governments.

I am grateful for their work to date. The task force will focus on delivery: delivery of a package of support and assistance for those affected and delivery of interventions to support the economic growth of the area. We will continue to provide advice and support for the workforce through our delivery partners and I have asked the task force to extend that support mechanism to the contractor network. We must ensure that all of those affected have the right information and skills to make the diffi cult choices ahead of them. The wider Murco workforce is highly skilled and has an excellent reputation and we will work with businesses partners in Wales and further to identify new employment opportunities for those affected by redundancy.”

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Five shouts in five days for Lifeboat crews at Angle

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ITS BEEN a really busy week for the crews at Angle with their first tasking to the 39 meter 300 tonne tall ship on Monday evening with engine failure and taking on water.

Crews then paged again in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a 11 meter sailing catamaran becalmed and low on fuel.

The training day Thursday was interrupted just after 12:30 PM with a tasking to a tender with three people on board that had upturned just off St Brides Haven.

Little & Broad Haven Lifeboat was also tasked along with Dale Coastguard.

Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat reached the three casualties and took them to shore where they were passed into the care of Dale Coastguard. Angle Lifeboat was stood down as it was passing through Jack’s Sound.

As the Lifeboat was returning from the shout another tasking request came through. A tanker had spotted an unmanned RIB approximately 10 miles SW of St Ann’s Head. Once on scene, after some investigation the RIB was believed to have come from a mooring and no people were missing. The Lifeboat towed the RIB back to Angle.

The Lifeboat was rehoused shortly after 4:00 PM

The 5th shout for Angle Lifeboat this week.

This was a large multi agency search.

The crew were paged at 09:35 AM to assist Tenby Lifeboats RNLI ALB and inshore Lifeboats to search for a missing person in the water following a report from a fisherman on rocks near Manorbier that he had lost sight of a person that had been rowing a dinghy toward shore and the occupant may be in the water. HM Coastguard Tenby had also been tasked to the search

The dinghy was handed over to Tenby inshore lifeboat crew after being picked up by a Range Safety boat who then brought it into the awaiting police at Manorbier Beach.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 187 from St Athan and St Govans Coastguard Rescue Team had now also joined in the search for the missing person.

After several hours searching a man approached police at Manorbier, stating he’d been on the vessel off Manorbier, had got into difficulty and ended up in the water.

With the casualty now safely ashore, all units were stood down at 12:27PM.

Angle Lifeboat then headed to Tenby Harbour to pick up some sustenance, a fizzy drink and a chocolate brownie, before heading back to Angle and rehousing at 2:31PM. The lifeboat was refuelled and given a well earned wash ready for the next tasking.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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