Next Welsh Government must put colleges and technical education at the heart of its future plans for manufacturing

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ColegauCymru, the charity representing Wales’ 13 further education institutions has today called on the next Welsh Government to place colleges and technical education at the heart of its plans for the manufacturing industry and tradeable goods sector in Wales. The call comes as the current Welsh Government publishes a Manufacturing Action Plan: Manufacturing Future for Wales, A Framework for Action. 

ColegauCymru Chief Executive Iestyn Davies commented, 

“A future Welsh Government will need to be much clearer on how it closes the gap between research, practical innovation and the development of the workforce for manufacturing.” 

Mr Davies added, 

“The FE sector is grateful for the recent support received from Welsh Government, particularly during the Covid19 pandemic. Looking to the future, sustainable long-term funding will be essential.” 

The call to improve technical skills funding comes as the charity prepares its policy platform for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections to the Senedd. Earlier this month the body published an in-depth study undertaken by a team of international researchers that called for better integration of skills systems with business and their local communities.  

The report highlights that an investment in skills without a commensurate shift in the way the next Welsh Government undertakes its role as the agent for economic change will yield very limited economic or social benefit. 

The report further makes the case for the need to create stronger local, or district activity, alongside national planning and notes the need to transform the way qualifications are delivered. A fundamental change to technical and vocational qualifications will help employees and businesses weather the changing times and the longer-term impact of the Covid19 Pandemic.  

Mark Jones, Chair of ColegauCymru Finance Network added, 

“At the start of this current Parliament, the FE sector was hit hard by a cut to its core funding. We are grateful for the continued work and commitment of government colleagues and the subsequent increase in funding, which has supported the sector’s recovery. Going forward however, funding will need to be increased further to support colleges in meeting increased skills demands from employers, and we would also want to move away from the annual settlement approach to allow business and colleges a sound basis from which to plan.” 

Further Information

Cabinet Statement 
Written Statement: Manufacturing Action Plan for Wales 
25 February 2021 

ColegauCymru Research Report 
Further Education: Enabling Renewal and Helping to Build Better Citizenship, Occupations and Business Communities in Wales 
10 February 2021 

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