2 May 2018
A report released last week has prompted ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, the post 16 education and learning charity to challenge the Welsh Government to do more to promote Wales’ education offer abroad. ColegauCymru claims that promoting the opportunities to study and partner with Wales 13 Further Education colleges would go some way to raise the nation’s standing in the world.
Iestyn Davies, Chief Executive of ColegauCymru said, “The recent report by the British Council highlights how small nations across the globe can promote their interests, attract investment and tourism by exercising what’s known as ‘Soft Power’. According to the British Council Wales’ high score in areas such as cultural awareness, digital engagement and enterprise is let down by the score achieved in the field of education.
The report, the “WALES SOFT POWER BAROMETER 2018 - Measuring soft power beyond the nation-state”, has been compiled on behalf of the British Council by Portland Communications, a strategic communications consultancy working with governments and businesses to promote international awareness. It found that compared alongside countries and regions such as Quebec, Scotland, Puerto Rico and Hokkaido in Japan, Wales achieved a high recognition in areas such as sport, thanks to its international football and rugby teams but faired less well in recognition of its performance in education.
Mr Davies added, “A nation’s influence is judged by its ability to attract jobs, investment and in providing opportunities for its citizens to travel and work abroad. To move up the world rankings and secure its place in the World, the Welsh Government should promote the education offer we have and expand its reach to a global audience. Many of our colleges and universities offer opportunities to travel and experience life outside of Wales via the Eramsus+ and other programs. Learners and students when they return to Wales, do so having enriched their learning and enhanced their skills.
However, if we are to exceed and excel in exercising ‘soft power’ and leverage it for our economic and cultural advantage, we need a resourced strategy to promote both Further and Higher Education in Wales to people abroad. We also need to ensure the standards we reach and exceed in Wales are greater than those achieved by other regions, this particularly has to be the case in the area of technical and vocational learning (TVET). We are after all competing in a global market place for jobs and investment.”
ColegauCymru will be holding a conference to explore how this can be better achieved on 6 of June 2018 in Cardiff. The event, A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES – REACHING AND EXCEEDING INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel and speakers will be drawn from the US, Ireland and the Basque Country as well as closer to home.