ColegauCymru calls for all-Wales post-16 Skills Plan

16 January 2017

In advance of a ColegauCymru submission to the influential Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee, the body has called for the Welsh Government to consult upon and publish a post-16 Skills Plan for Wales.The call comes as part of its submission into the committee’s review of the impact of the UK Apprenticeship Levy on businesses in Wales.

Chief Executive of ColegauCymru, Iestyn Davies said, “Colleges and training providers are delivering a range of apprenticeship that are potentially under threat from the introduction of the levy and the future loss of EU funding for skills.

“The committee is looking into the effect of the Apprenticeship Levy on businesses in Wales, and while the UK Government has a strategy in place for England, the Welsh Government is severely lacking in a strategic response of its own. This not only questions the future of apprenticeships but vocational education and training more widely.”

He added, “We wholeheartedly support the Welsh Government’s commitment to skills and vocational education as set out in its recent budget commitment, but the lack of an overarching strategy to deliver in the short, medium and long term risks leaving Wales without the skills it needs to meet the challenges of the future.”

The 2017/18 budget, agreed last week by the National Assembly, places a renewed emphasis on funding for further education and skills. Cross-party support was secured to ensure that cuts to education and skills for post-16 year olds have been reversed and a priority placed on delivering skills for the workplace. However, according to the response submitted to the committee’s enquiry, changes initiated by the UK Government, in the form of a levy and a decrease in departmental expenditure at a UK level, could see Welsh businesses out of pocket and Wales’ learners let down.

Mr Davies concluded, “Wales should not be in the shadow of England when it comes to vocational skills, in fact we should continue to be world leaders as demonstrated by our recent success at the WorldSkills show. We must define the future of vocational education and training here in Wales. We can only do this through progressive thinking and by leading the way with a strategy for our learners and businesses.”