ColegauCymru sets out its commitment to working closely with Welsh Government but warns that proposed legislation must be fit for purpose, offer genuine change and open up vocational learning pathways to higher skills.
In a statement to Members of the Senedd yesterday, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS, outlined plans by Welsh Government to overhaul the regulation, funding and planning of post-16 education. He confirmed that, subject to approval of the bill further education colleges, school sixth forms, universities and apprenticeships would all be regulated and funded by a Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER).
ColegauCymru Chief Executive Iestyn Davies said,
“We are committed as a charity and as a representative body to working with the Minister to overhaul the planning, funding and provision of post-16 education in Wales.
“This bill means fundamental changes to regulation of education to all post-16 learners in Wales. The bill must put colleges and sixth forms on a more equal footing, provide better access to higher level technical and vocational qualifications, and outline how adult learning will be improved.”
ColegauCymru recognises the clear need to change the way in which post-16 education is delivered in Wales, particularly considering the economic and social impact of both Brexit and the Covid19 pandemic. With workplaces changing rapidly, employers are increasingly looking for flexibility and variety in terms of skills for the workforce they’re employing. Changes to post compulsory education will need to reflect these developments. This means making it easier for colleges to deliver qualifications at levels 4 and 5 which are often sought by employers.
However, Mr Davies warned that the proposed legislation must be fit for purpose.
Mr Davies added,
“It’s vital that this bill is fit for purpose. We’re now calling on Welsh Government to ensure that suitable progression paths from school through to further education, vocational and technical qualifications and further, to higher education or into employment, are possible as a result of the legislation. We urge all members of the Senedd to consider carefully and in detail the extent to which the bill is genuinely fit for purpose and address the concerns that the Minister has outlined in his statement to Plenary.”
ColegauCymru is urging the Members of the Senedd to scrutinise carefully how the bill will facilitate institutions and providers to encourage more engaged citizenship and address many of the enduring challenges of social exclusion and social mobility. This includes supporting individuals into better paid and more highly skilled jobs.
ColegauCymru looks forward to working with Welsh Government and our stakeholders to bring a workable bill to fruition, one which provides every learner with a level playing field of opportunity for their education, regardless of the route they choose to follow.
Welsh Government Cabinet Statement
Written Statement: Introduction of Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill
1 November 2021