CollegesWales (UK) International works with a range of partners, funders and stakeholders across Europe to:

  • organise work placements for Wales' students and apprentices in European countries
  • organise professional exchanges for education managers
  • recognise skills and qualifications across Europe
  • represent the sector as a member of Wales' Programme Monitoring Committee on EU Funding.

ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, as the NCP for EQAVET, are organising an EQAVET Peer Learning Activity at CAVC on September 29/30 2016

  1. Programme EQAVET

ColegauCymru coordinates and leads a number of development opportunities for vocational learners and staff through Erasmus+ funding.

Erasmus+ is the name of the European Commission's education and lifelong learning funding stream.

Our work on Erasmus+ comprises the following key areas:

  • Applications: we lead on consortia bids for Erasmus+ funding for vocational learners and staff
  • Awareness: we present information to colleges, training providers and companies using leaflets and a video of good practice
  • Advice: we advise on the portability and transparency of qualifications across Europe. We are the Welsh National Contact Point for EQF, ECVET and EQAVET.
  • Policy: we contribute to the UK National Agency’s (UK NA) Erasmus+ Country Advisory Group (Wales), Sector Consultative Group (UK) and the Learning Networks (UK)

Key links on Erasmus+ activity:

  1. Briefing paper: Developing Vocational Skills with Erasmus+ (July2016)

Learners and staff on the benefits of work placements in Europe (YouTube playlist)

ColegauCymru's International Coordinator, Sian Holleran, giving an overview of the role and purpose of work placements abroad:

On behalf of the Welsh Government, ColegauCymru is Wales' lead contact point for the coordination of a range of European programmes that help learners, workers, employers, colleges, universities and careers advisors understand how skills and qualifications are recognised across Europe.

Together, these initiatives:

  • relate different countries' national qualifications systems to a common European reference framework, making national qualifications more readable across Europe
  • show the skills and qualifications that are needed to get work in particular trades in Europe
  • provide confidence in the quality assurance of vocational education and training programmes in Europe, building mutual trust, and
  • enable the recognition of learners’ achievements during periods of study and/or training overseas (which may be financially supported by Erasmus+ funds).

  1. Recognising learning achieved abroad (Ecvet Experts)

Organisations involved in post-16 education and training in Wales, including further education colleges, have been receiving EU Structural Funds since 2007. Since the UK referendum in June 2016 on the UK's membership of the European Union, in which a majority voted in favour of leaving the European Union, the Prime Minister Theresa May is taking steps to withdraw the UK from the EU. The formal process has not yet begun and there are a number of uncertainties over future funding, international partnerships and mobility issues.

  1. The EU and post-16 education & training: an overview
  2. The EU Referendum Outcome: what it means for post-16 education and training in Wales (last updated 08 July 2016)

CollegesWales Support for Training Scheme

The ColegauCymru Scheme is registered with the European Commission for the purposes of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).

The objective of the Scheme is to allow further education colleges in Wales to provide support to enterprises in Wales to actively encourage them to invest in training. The Scheme will allow public support to be provided for training activity. The Scheme will run from 1 April 2016 until 31 December 2020.

The following further education colleges are authorised to implement the scheme:

Coleg Gwent, St David’s Catholic College, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg y Cymoedd, The College Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend College, NPTC Group of Colleges, Gower College Swansea, Coleg Sir Gâr, Pembrokeshire College, Coleg Ceredigion, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Coleg Cambria, Adult Learning Wales.

The scheme is to be used only for the provision of courses on the WEFO-approved course list.

ColegauCymru is registered with the European Commission and all aid awarded under the Scheme will be transparent and in line with criteria set out in Article 5 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).

  1. GBER Scheme


ColegauCymru was a partner in a three-year European project called Rainova. Led by Tknika in the Basque Country, it took a regional approach to innovation in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

There were 9 European partners involved in the RAINOVA project ranging from a VET school in Denmark to a federation of small businesses in Sweden. CollegesWales was a partner representing the FE colleges in Wales. China and Canada participated as ‘observing’ partners. One of the aims of the RAINOVA project was to create a European innovation network that would continue after the project end date. A first step in ensuring that Wales remained an active member of the network was to organise an Erasmus+ visit to the Basque Country.

The project has formally come to an end, but its legacy lives on.

A delegation of 15 senior leaders from Further Education colleges across Wales travelled to the Basque Country, Spain in June 2016 to explore regional approaches to innovation within the vocational education and training (VET) sector. With the support of Tknika, the Basque government’s centre of innovation in the region, the delegation also gained an insight into how the VET sector engages with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and other agencies that are involved in innovation in the region.

Key Contact

Sian Holleran, CollegesWales

T: (+44 0)29 2052 2500