Policy Forum for Wales

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Next steps for post-16 education, training and skills in Wales - legislation, strategy and structures | CETR priorities | Welsh-medium education | funding | equality of opportunity | lifelong learning | strengthening links with business and economic needs

December 2023

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

This conference examined the future of the post-compulsory education and training sector in Wales.

It was an opportunity to assess a range of significant developments, including the impact of the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER) following its establishment in September 2023.

Delegates examined priorities for the Commission’s first strategic plan, set to be operational from April 2024, and how it should manage its responsibilities, looking at funding and oversight of the FE and HE sectors in Wales, as well as adult learning and apprenticeships and training.

Key stakeholders and policymakers discussed the implementation of Government’s action plans for Net Zero Skills and Cymraeg 2050: Welsh language strategy, considering priorities for training and support for green skills acquisition, and the way forward for availability of Welsh-medium tertiary education.

Attendees also considered priorities for promoting equality of opportunity, overcoming challenges Wales is facing in mitigating the effects of socio-economic circumstances on ambition and outcomes, and addressing potential barriers to uptake of FE, HE, training and work-based learning initiatives.

Further sessions looked at latest thinking on strategies and options for strengthening links between education, training and Welsh business, aligning employer and national skills needs, and equipping learners with skills that will be essential for a more automated and decarbonised future labour market.

We are pleased to have been able to include a keynote session with Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, whose review Towards 2023, A framework for building a world-class post-compulsory education system for Wales led to the establishment of the CTER.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • strategic vision: progress with implementation of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022 and establishment of the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research
  • the Commission: next steps for unifying the funding, regulation and general oversight of the post-16 education and training sector under a single organisation
  • investment: funding priorities for innovation and research in the tertiary education and training sector - priority areas for targeting funding - options for increased collaboration in research
  • meeting the needs of learners: adopting a student-centred post-16 education system - options for encouraging lifelong learning - improving access to education and training for all
  • employers: increasing employer engagement with education and training - fostering partnerships
  • Welsh-medium education: increasing provision of Welsh language materials that enable learning throughout the post-compulsory education system and into the workplace

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who  attended from Department for the Economy, NI; Department of Education, NI; DESNZ; DfE; DWP; IPO; and the Welsh Government.

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles