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Colleges in Wales deliver a wide range of Welsh Government funded work-based learning (WBL) programmes to meet the needs of a diverse range of employers and learners.

ColegauCymru convenes the Further Education Strategic Work-based Learning and Employability Group. Chaired by Dr Barry Walters of Pembrokeshire College, the group is made up of representatives of all colleges in Wales, providing strategic oversight for work-based learning matters in the FE sector including apprenticeships.   

WBL provision delivered by FE colleges supports the delivery of Welsh Government’s wider strategic priorities including: 


The Welsh Government’s flagship skills programme is delivered by colleges, and in partnership with employers. The Apprenticeship Programme aims to provide apprentices (of all ages) with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to allow them to thrive within the workplace. Almost every industry and sector within the Welsh economy will be engaged with the Apprenticeships Programme, with new apprenticeships being developed all the time. An apprenticeship allows an individual to ‘earn and learn’ at the same time and provides an employer with the opportunity to grow their own talent.  

ColegauCymru plays a critical role in facilitating dialogue between all FE colleges, Welsh Government, and other key stakeholders through jointly chairing the Work-based Learning Commissioned Contract Holders Reference Group, which see college providers engaging directly with Welsh Government officials to ensure continual improvement to the Apprenticeships Programme.  

Jobs Growth Wales+ 

With the aim of supporting young people into employment, the Jobs Growth Wales Plus (JGW+) programme aims to address the many barriers young people face today in securing their first job. This flexible programme centres around the specific needs of the young person and allows colleges to work with them as individuals to develop a bespoke programme of learning and interventions to ensure they are fully supported in making the transition from education to employment.  

Like its role with apprenticeships, ColegauCymru also plays a key role in developing the Jobs Growth Wales Plus provision, through jointly chairing the JGW+ Operational Board with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). This board, which bring together an even wider stakeholder membership, has played a significant role in the first year of the programme, in areas such as securing Welsh Government financial support for learners, developing provision which support learner mental health and wellbeing, as well as increasing the reach of the programme to individuals aged 19 and those in receipt of Universal Credit.  

Personal Learning Accounts         

Aimed at individuals already in employment, but who wish to upskill or reskill, the Personal Learning Accounts (PLA) programme provides individuals with the knowledge and skills required to progress into or within sectors of great economic importance to Wales. This flexible and responsive programme allows colleges to respond to the needs of individuals and their employers to maximise the opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies.   

The courses delivered by colleges in Wales provide the skills and qualifications that local employers are looking for. They focus on sectors that are growing in the regions and nationally, and where there is currently a need for people with these skills. Delivered flexibly and around and individual’s life and other commitments, the goal is that at the end of the course, those achieving will be in a better position to apply for better-paid jobs.    

Employment and Enterprise Bureaus  

Funded by Welsh Government, and operating in every college in Wales, Employment and Enterprise Bureaus provide a package of support for students, full and part-time, to build essential employability and enterprise skills, and support transition to employment by inviting employers to engage with students to discuss employment opportunities. The Employment and Enterprise Bureaus are a key element of part of the Young Person’s Guarantee. 

Each Bureau offers tailored support to students within their college but is open to nurturing ongoing opportunities with employers in their region. The key objective of the bureaus is to offer a recruitment service to local employers and to increase the employment opportunities available to learners within the college, by: 

  • offering transition support to existing college learners; 
  • creating opportunities for students to engage with local, regional, and national employers;  
  • preparing students for and matching them to current and future job and apprenticeship opportunities;   
  • brokering strong recruitment links between colleges and employers to lever more and better progression opportunities for learners; 
  • support learners leaving other parts of the post-compulsory education and training system such as schools and higher education.  

Further Information

Jeff Protheroe, Strategic Adviser, Work-based learning and Employability




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