A positive start to 2019/20 for Further Education

ColegauCymru has had a positive start to the new academic year.

Following the £175,000 investment to enhance mental health and wellbeing services for learners and staff in FE, an additional £2 million has been awarded to the sector in the latest budget announcement. ColegauCymru held an event in November celebrating the range of Mental Health pilot projects that aim to improve learner wellbeing.

As part of our Erasmus+ work, learners met with Jeremy Miles, the Welsh Government Brexit Minister, to discuss the positive impact and benefits of Erasmus+. The meeting highlighted the importance of keeping European vocational work placements for college learners after we leave the European Union. Following the meeting, Vikki Howells AM asked the Minister about the future of Erasmus+ in Wales, to which he responded that after hearing first hand from learners, it was clear that Wales must be a part of a UK-wide Erasmus+ scheme in the future.

This term’s ColegauCymru CPG meeting launched our research on “Building a Better Wales – Lessons from Europe”. The panel at the event included consultant Dr Mark Lang, who made a presentation on the findings; Deputy Principal Sharon James, who spoke from an FE perspective; and Labour AM Alun Davies, who responded to the presentations from a political standpoint. The first Cross Party Group meeting of 2020 will focus on “Preparing for 1 million Welsh speakers – the contribution from FE”.

2020 will see the launch of ColegauCymru’s strategy for Active Wellbeing with the aim of developing a long-term strategic plan that promotes the benefit of sport and physical activity on Wellbeing for FE colleges. To support this development, a series of Active Wellbeing forums were held in autumn 2019 to provide a platform to discuss future development in the sector and also look more closely at how different organisations can work together.

ColegauCymru will respond to a number of important consultations in the new year as we consider issues such as the Curriculum for Wales 2022 and the new qualifications to accompany it, having already responded to nine consultations this term. We will also maintain close relationships with Assembly Members and Ministers to highlight the ongoing contribution of Further Education and ensure that the FE sector continues to deliver world-class education, training and skills outcomes for all post-compulsory learners in Wales.