College Leaders meet in Cardiff for the Four Nations College Alliance

Colleges from across the UK are meeting in Wales for the fourth meeting of the Four Nations College Alliance. At a two-day seminar hosted by Cardiff and Vale College, and supported by Welsh Government, the representatives met to consider the challenge of developing the College of the Future, and addressing the barriers that exist to extend the role of colleges today.

Iestyn Davies, CEO of ColegauCymru, along with members of the CollegesWales Principals’ Forum and Government officials were joined by the Minster for Education, Kirsty Williams. The Minister evidenced how Wales’ transformed FE sector of anchor institutions is leading the way in responding to community and employer needs. Iestyn Davies commented saying, “Whilst we have much to be proud of in Wales, by playing a part in the college alliance meetings and discussing the potential of the College of the Future collectively, this helps us to see how we can learn from the experience of partners from across the UK.”

The Four Nations College Alliance meeting was supported by Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of the Commission of the College of the Future. On day two, a wider Welsh stakeholder meeting with people from Welsh business, policy and community groups was held. Members engaged in a challenging discussion on how FE colleges can increase their flexiblity and agility to support  communities across Wales, and continue to respond effectively to the challenges and and changing needs of learners and skills today and in the future.

Ewart Keep, Director of SKOPE, Oxford University said of the alliance, "the Four Nations College Alliance will develop thinking on the future development of vocational education and its closer integration with industrial policy, economic development and innovation. The alliance will also seek to lead public debate on the role, funding and governance of colleges.

This is a timely development. Although E&T policy is now fully devolved and each country is empowered to do its own thing, there are good reasons for colleges across the UK seeking to learn from and influence policy development beyond their own borders".

The Four Nations College Alliance and the Commission will continue to meet and further details of the work of the Commission and the College of the Future can be found here.