AROUND once a year, governments announce a budget. The UK one involves a bit of a pantomime, with the Chancellor photographed outside No 11 Downing Street before heading into the House of Commons to deliver a lengthy statement.

What follows is a great debate lasting about four days. The Labour Welsh Government version couldn’t be more different.

There was no photograph, no debate and no statement. In fact, the whole draft budget was pushed out after Senedd proceedings had ended for Christmas.

There has been no opportunity for Welsh Parliament members to scrutinise these spending plans or discuss the severe impact the budget is expected to have on council tax, business rates and cuts to public services.

This is not the proper way to conduct business and I know my Conservative colleagues will have plenty of questions to ask when the Senedd goes back this week.

APPRENTICESHIPS have been a great success over the last decade. They were traditionally in certain trades, but now all sorts of different schemes are available. Many people, especially the younger generations, are worried about climate change.

There is a place for protest and lobbying but when people say, “what can I do?” there are practical solutions to help make a difference.

The UK – especially Wales – is at the forefront of the new industrial revolution taking place in the modern era using green technology.

Floating offshore wind is an industry of the future, where turbines produce clean and renewable energy harnessed by the power of strong winds blowing in deeper areas of water. One area well-placed to take advantage of this exciting technology is the Celtic Sea off the coast of south Wales.

Carbon capture and storage is an emerging technology that takes carbon dioxide emissions from industrial processes such as steel or cement making – or from the burning of fossil fuels in power generation – transporting it via ship or in a pipeline and storing it in depleted gas fields under the seabed.

Hanson Padeswood cement works, based in Flintshire, is one of several companies chosen by the UK Government to progress plans for carbon capture. Momentum is also growing around the longstanding potential of hydrogen as a clean energy solution because it does not release harmful gases when burnt.

There are numerous apprenticeship schemes out there and one that caught my eye is National Grid’s. We are in a transformational era focused on bringing more renewables on to the grid that will cut carbon emissions, bring down bills and improve security of supply.

In the years ahead, National Grid will need people with different experiences to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy.

I would encourage anyone interested in being part of the next generation of talent which will shape the future of energy in the UK to look at the careers section on the National Grid website.