Inadequate UK Government Brexit response leaves learners in the lurch

29 November 2016

The UK Government’s response on the post Brexit implications for skills and vocational education has been slammed by ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, the post 16 education charity in Wales. Speaking ahead of a seminar on Europe and Skills, the Chief Executive of the charity, Iestyn Davies, has branded the UK Government’s response so far as “inadequate and lacking in detail”.

The charity claims key questions over the continuing status of Welsh and UK wide qualifications remain unanswered after 5 months of dithering and procrastination. In addition, it points to the likely cessation of unique exchange opportunities (via the Erasmus+ programme) that have allowed hundreds of young learners to experience working life across the continent, unless the UK government takes swift action to safeguard Wales’ place in a post Brexit Europe.

Iestyn Davies commented, “The UK Government must demonstrate how UK qualifications will be valid in Europe both now and in the future. It must therefore commit to keeping the shared frameworks and underpinnings which make vocations qualifications valid not only in Wales and the UK but more widely across the continent.”

Mr Davies will tell the delegates at the seminar tomorrow (Wednesday 30th November) that only a concerted effort on behalf of the UK and Welsh Governments will assure employers that the very best trained and qualified staff will be available to them in Wales.

He continued, “A highly skilled workforce is a sought after commodity in the world of globalised industry and commerce. Learners need globally relevant skills achieved through a rich experience of vocational learning and the qualifications to demonstrate they have made the grade. The current situation caused by an inadequate response from the UK Government will leave them in the lurch.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, added: “The First Minister and the Welsh Government has made clear that the UK Government needs to provide greater clarity on its objectives for the Article 50 negotiations. It is essential that as we withdraw from the EU, we do not lose some of the key benefits, such as participation in Europe-wide exchanges for students and young people through the Erasmus+ Programme, which EU membership has brought us”.

The charity is calling for an urgent response to demonstrate that the UK Government has a plan in place to maintain the common framework for qualifications and a commitment to the Erasmus+ programme following the UKs exit from the European Union.