With 700,000 Welsh jobs estimated by the Bank of England to be at risk from automation, Llanelli AM Lee Waters is holding an expert summit on Monday to help draw up a plan for the Welsh economy to prepare.
As computer programmes, mobile apps, algorithms and robots become increasingly sophisticated, experts predict these automative tools have the potential to replace vast numbers of jobs across the country – with new professions such as doctors, accountants and lawyers all coming under risk.
“Few people understand the scale of the challenge we face, and even fewer know what to do about it. We need to face up to the transformation that’s already underway. And we need to do it fast” Lee Waters said.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Ken Skates, and the Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, will join some of Wales’ biggest employers and leading academics to discuss the common challenge. Together, the group will discuss the scale and scope of the automation jobs impact in Wales, and what can be done both to prepare for these job losses and to capitalise on emerging opportunities.
Lee Waters AM said “We’re used to robots replacing human hands in our factories, but this new wave of automation is marked by the potential for human brains to replaced, too. Computers and algorithms that can gather data from far wider sources to make precise judgements on anything from tax returns to cancer treatments.
“But as well as posing massive risks,” he continued “automation could open up new possibilities in Wales. What’s crucial is the need to prepare. We need action now to ensure in twenty years – when this impact hits – our workforce is ready and our industry is primed.
Organisations attending the roundtable include Dwr Cymru, Principality Building Society, the DVLA, Industry Wales and Deloitte. They’ll be joined by academics from Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol universities, as well as Chairs of two of the three regional skills partnerships in Wales. Together, attendees will share their own approaches towards addressing this challenge, before focussing on what Wales can practically do to prepare.