Glass Industry - Non-Statutory (Wales)

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Framework ID: FR03107
Issue number: 11
Issued: 23 September 2014

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Glass Industry - Non-Statutory (Wales)
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Manufacturing is a key sector in the Welsh economy and Glass is one of the three largest industries in the Welsh footprint. The Glass industry is of vital importance to other industries, either as an important part of the supply chain or as a supplier of end products, making a substantial contribution to the economy.

The Glass Occupations industry covers:

  • Manufacture of flat glass
  • Shaping and processing of flat glass
  • Manufacture of hollow glass
  • Manufacture of glass fibres
  • Manufacture and processing of other glass, including technical glassware

Additional industries include:

  • Glazing and Curtain Walling
  • Manufacture and installation of windows, doors and conservatories
  • Automotive Glazing
  • Architectural Stain Glass and Stain Glass Conservation
  • Photovoltaics

The tough economic climate will continue to have an impact on companies in the sector, as will competition, advancing technology, and changing working practices. These are all factors that companies in Wales have identified will have a significant impact on their businesses over the coming years. It will be vital to ensure the presence of appropriate training for the Glass industry to help them prepare their employees for the future and continue to improve productivity and competitiveness.

Although there is likely to be a drop in the overall size of the Welsh workforce during the coming decade, industries like Glass in Wales will still require additional workers in this period. There is predicted to be a fall in lower level occupations but a rise in the demand for higher skills as the continuing automation of processes requires more highly skilled workers.

Proskills will continue to work with employers across Wales to ensure that the right skills platform is in place and the right framework exists to support skills investment. This is in line with the aims and objectives set out in the "Skills That Work for Wales" strategy. For more information please read:

Training, in the form of the Glass Industry Apprenticeship framework, has been welcomed by Welsh employers since the early 1990s as a mechanism to provide highly specialised, suitable skilled staff in the use of advanced technologies associated with the Glass Industry.

In 2009, employers reported skills gaps in a third of employees in the Skilled Trade, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives occupational groups. These skills gaps result in decreased productivity, increased operating costs and difficulties in introducing new working practices. Currently over half of all Glass companies are training their employees to address the issue of skill gaps. The vast majority, despite recession, want to maintain their level of training and a fifth agreed that the need to increase workforce skills will continue to be a key factor in the coming years.

A key challenge for the Glass industry in Wales is that the current workforce is ageing, with a particular shortfall of employees aged 16-24. In these tough economic times it remains essential that Apprenticeships continue to be a viable option for young people so that Wales maintains a highly skilled and qualified workforce.

The Glass industry is currently not attracting females, applicants from black and minority ethnic groups or those with a difficulty or disability in sufficient numbers. The Glass industry recognises that it is not making the most of the pool of talent that is available – this is untapped talent which could help to meet their skills gaps and shortages thereby contributing to increased productivity and competitiveness.

The Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships have been designed to help fill the skills gaps and shortages caused by an ageing workforce, by attracting younger people into the Glass Industry and providing them with the skills, knowledge and experience which employers are seeking to recruit and retain. In addition, it will provide a progression route which will help to upskill the existing workforce to meet the future economical, environmental and technological changes.

The Level 2 Foundation framework includes a range of job roles at craft and technical level working with glass using a range of processes such as cutting, engraving, glass blowing, the manufacture and installation of windows, doors, conservatories, soffits and bargeboards, the repair and replacement of automotive glazing and installation of photovoltaics.

The Level 3 framework builds and develops the craft and technical knowledge in these occupational areas and also offers a route to opportunities for team leading and leading hand roles and also in fenestration surveying.

More pathways are being built as technology advances and new processes develop, For example, fire resistant glazing.

For more information about the Glass Industry, please visit The report outlines information on careers available, new emerging jobs, transferability of skills, career paths and opportunities for progression. There is information on pay scales, how to enter the industry and what qualifications are available. The report also shows trends in the industry, where skills gaps lie, what influences the recession has had and the future of the industry in terms of a green agenda and job requirements.

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Glass Industry - Non-Statutory (Wales)
(PDF document 10.5 MB)