Skills 2009-2029 – what next for FE?

ColegauCymru recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the official opening of the Tongwynlais office by then Deputy Minister for Skills, John Griffiths AM.

To mark the occasion, John Griffiths was invited to return for a small seminar event to look at skills in Wales, past, present and future. He shared his memories as Deputy Minister for Skills, noting that we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that education is a good in itself. He also commented that the skills portfolio is one which is enjoyed by Ministers, who tend to maintain an interest in the sector if they change portfolio.

The next speaker, Kathryn Robson, CEO, Adult Learning Wales, discussed current FE and skills provision, celebrating the good work from colleges across Wales. She said, “The FE sector shows itself again and again to be flexible and reactive to changes. Colleges are strong collaborators who continue to provide learning, skills, and employability opportunities to support economic growth.”

Finally, Rob Simkins, NUS Wales President, looked to the future of FE. From discussions with learners across Wales, he explained their priorities are for Further Education to be fully funded, accessible and inclusive, provide skills for life so that learners can adapt to changing circumstances, and for colleges to be ethical and sustainable.

Rob added, “Having spoken with students, student representatives, and officers across colleges in Wales, what came out was that learners would like personalised learning to suit the circumstances, and also have the right systems there to support their learning. On top of that, the idea of learning being ethical and focussing on students’ behaviours and values was important as well.”

The event closed with a look forward to the next 10 years. Iestyn Davies, CEO ColegauCymru said, “The FE sector works hard to enhance and enrich the lives of learners. The next 10 years will see many challenges and opportunities within the sector, with the roll out of the new Curriculum for Wales, and the establishment of the new body overseeing post-16 education. Colleges will continue to adapt to these changing landscapes, while delivering world-class education, training and skills outcomes for all post-compulsory learners in Wales.”