ColegauCymru has today published an independent research report which gives some startling views on the future of further education in Wales.
2019 saw ColegauCymru commission an independent team of internationally renowned researchers across a range of fields to explore the role further education could play in the future of Wales’ social and economic development. The resulting report Further Education: Enabling Renewal and Helping to Build Better Citizenship, Occupations and Business Communities in Wales, which has been adapted to address the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, brings to light some challenging findings.
The Report covers the themes of better citizenship, occupations and business communities. Suggested actions are based on how further education could use its educational and organisational expertise to assist in reforming labour demand. There is a particular need for a more active role in building new occupations and to be an active player in drawing all relevant players together to help revitalise and strengthen local business communities.
Report co-author Professor John Buchanan of the University of Sydney said,
“There’s much to be proud of in Wales’ Further Education system. In terms of the English-speaking world, FE in Wales is in good shape. Likewise, there are some excellent socially aware and commercially astute small businesses. But we need to recognise that Wales’ these ‘shining light’ SMEs are islands of excellence in a sea of mediocrity. Whereas we’re used to hearing that business is the solution, it’s time we recognised that actually, business is part of the problem.”
Fellow co-author Professor Karel Williams of the University of Manchester added,
“Wales is the world capital of good intentions, but we need to move beyond warm words into action. The Covid19 crisis is accelerating economic and social changes in Wales that have been unfolding since 1980s deindustrialisation. Education and skills are continually raised as solutions to the problems we face. But while there is no solution without skills, skills alone are not the answer. More of the same policy on education and skills will ultimately give us the best qualified underemployed workforce Wales has ever had”.
ColegauCymru Chairman Guy Lacey further added,
“Although some of the report makes for challenging reading, there is much room for optimism. With the right vision, support and appropriate funding, the further education sector in Wales can be an even more valuable tool to rebuild our economy whilst helping communities to thrive and individuals to succeed”.