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Workplace inequality affects economy

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Workplace equality: Could grow economy by 10%

INFLEXIBLE workplace structures, gendered assumptions about childcare, and wide-scale discrimination mean mothers are more likely to be trapped in part-time, low-paid work with fewer opportunities for career progression.

Those are the findings of a National Assembly committee which has been looking at the issue.

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee believe such factors are key causes of gender inequality and represent a loss to the economy.
The UK Government’s Women’s Business Council estimates that equalising the employment rates of women and men could grow the UK economy by more than 10% by 2030.

The employment rate for women with dependent children in Wales is 75%, compared to 91% for men with dependent children.

The gender pay gap between men and women in Wales is 15% for all employees (full and part time).

A 2016 survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed that Welsh employers lag behind England and Scotland in offering flexible working.

The same survey found that 87% of employers in Wales feel it is in the best interests of organisations to support pregnant women and those on maternity leave. But it also found that 71% of mothers reported negative or discriminatory experiences as a result of having children.

Employment law isn’t devolved to Wales but the Committee focused on the levers at the Welsh Government’s disposal including employment of public sector workers and businesses and organisations in receipt of public funding,

“During the course of our inquiry we heard some shocking individual experiences: women who lost their jobs during maternity leave, careers derailed because of the lack of flexible work, and fathers prevented from taking on caring responsibilities because of cultural attitudes,” said John Griffiths AM, Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

“These stories have directly influenced our conclusions and recommendations.

“Preventing a large proportion of the population from contributing their skills and experience to the workforce is not fair and does not make economic sense.

“In light of technological, social and economic changes, now is the time to modernise workplaces so that they are fit for the future for everyone, not just parents.

“We believe the Welsh Government can set a standard in promoting flexible working, ensuring organisations in receipt of public funding are flexible by default and by reassessing its new childcare offer.”

The Committee makes 34 recommendations in its report, including:

  • That the Welsh Government should advertise public sector jobs (including teaching posts) as ‘flexible by default’, and lead the way by allowing senior roles like Ministers and councillors to be job-shared;
  • Strengthening the obligations on organisations receiving public funding to provide flexible working and report on the retention rates of staff returning from maternity leave;
  • The Committee heard that the Welsh Government’s new Childcare Offer was unlikely to achieve its main aim of increasing maternal employment in the most effective way. It recommended the Government reconsider the target age group and the income threshold; and,
  • the Welsh Government improve advice services in Wales, and that information about rights and obligation at work should be provided to women at an early stage of pregnancy.

The report will now be considered by the Welsh Government.

Business

Trainees are the lifeblood of expanding local accountancy firm

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ASHMOLE & CO are encouraging those qualifying from university, sitting their GCSEs or A Levels this month to consider a future career in accountancy. Trainees are the lifeblood of the accountancy firm which has offices in Haverfordwest and Tenby.

Ashmole & Co employed Adam Bowen last year as a Trainee Accountant based in the Haverfordwest office. Adam lives in Pembroke with his parents and brother. Day to day he prepares statutory accounts for clients, Tax returns and VAT returns for local individuals, sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.

William Hughes, Partner in the Haverfordwest Ashmole & Co office, said, “It is important as a profession that we help nurture the next generation of professional accountants. Trainee staff members are the lifeblood for the future success of our firm. We are a local business and are always keen to employ those who live locally.”

After passing his A Levels Adam completed a Business Management Degree gaining a First Class Honours and an MSc Accounting and Finance Masters with Distinction, both at Swansea University. He began his Masters in September 2020 and joined Ashmole & Co in February 2021. He then went on to complete his Masters exams and dissertation as an Ashmole & Co employee completing his course in September 2021 and graduating in December 2021. 

Commenting on his appointment Adam said, “I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the experienced team at Ashmole & Co who are one of the most established and largest teams of chartered and certified accountants and auditors in south and west Wales. It is very rewarding to be able to learn new skills and apply the skills I’ve already gained from my University and ACCA studies.”

In his spare time Adam likes playing football. He plays for Hundleton Football Club and when he isn’t taking part himself he enjoys watching the game.

Ashmole & Co are one of the largest chartered certified accountants in Wales. The rapidly expanding and modern firm often has job opportunities for enthusiastic individuals both qualified and non-qualified within the organisation. If you feel you have the qualities to be part of the team at Ashmole & Co, please email, with your CV attached, to AshmoleHR@ashmole.co.uk. Alternatively, apply for a specific vacancy listed on the website: www.ashmole.co.uk

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Aldi launches Jubilee Street Party Fund with £500 vouchers being given away

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ALDI is calling on streets across the UK to enter a competition to win funding for the ultimate Jubilee bash.

The supermarket’s Jubilee Street Party Fund will see it give away a series of £500 Aldi vouchers to help communities up and down the country celebrate Her Majesty’s big day.

Ten lucky winners can use the vouchers to purchase food, drinks and decorations from Aldi’s Jubilee-inspired range, such as its Eton Mess Gin Liqueur and light-up, shimmering Strawberry and Mint Gin Liqueur, Specially Selected English Sparkling wines, Jubilee IPAs and Jubilee gourmet popcorn, giving them everything they need to toast the Queen’s reign.

Aldi’s Facebook page is hosting the competition, with entrants asked to tag their local community Facebook group or a friendly neighbour to be in with a chance of winning.

Entries are open from now until 8am on Thursday 26th May and T&Cs apply.

Winners will be contacted on Friday 27th May to allow plenty of time for them to stock up on all their street party essentials.

Richard Thornton, Communications Director at Aldi UK, said: “Winners of our Jubilee Street Party Fund competition will receive vouchers to buy all they need to celebrate this momentous occasion with their neighbours.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for communities to come together to organise their street parties, and look forward to seeing how the lucky winners of our competition decide to mark the big day.”

To find out more and enter the competition visit: https://fb.watch/db1SIlL-t5/

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Business

Fantastic conversion of old double decker as hop-on-hop-off bus for Tenby

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THE WILL be an exciting new bus on the streets of south Pembrokeshire from next month as First Cymru launch their Cymru Coaster service between Tenby and Saundersfoot.

First say that their “beastly” Euro 2 Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX400 is a great bus for the route, and that there are no low bridges along the route they plan – so no issues for the double decker.

The bus, which is over 20 years old has been in service across the UK including in Bristol but has been completely overhauled for its new role in Pembrokeshire.

The new service is launching on Thursday 2nd June in time for the Queens Platinum Jubilee Holiday.
Its the first time that double-deckers have been in use in the county since Silcox Coaches retired their old school buses of this type in the late 1990’s.

First say they are looking forward to passengers using their “hop on hop off service from next month.”

The same bus back in 2016 in use in Bristol before the conversion
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