Our existing members are the 12 Welsh colleges. Wales' further education (FE) colleges are independent not-for-profit institutions, or what are commonly referred to as NPISH bodies (Not for Profit Institutions Serving Households) serving communities. Colleges receive a proportion of their funding from the Welsh Government and other income from their work with businesses, contracted services, and international activity. As such, they form part of the public service in Wales.
Most of Wales' further education colleges may be described as part-tertiary: that is, where one or more campuses deliver vocational education and training in addition to delivering general education for the local area's 6th form cohort. One of our members is a community-based FE institution that delivers learning programmes in community venues rather than in college campuses. In addition, three are merged with universities: one with the University of South Wales (USW) and two with University of Wales Trinity St David's (UWTSD).
Following a number of years of consolidation of the post-16 education and training landscape, the number of colleges has reduced significantly whilst growing in size and strength.
The majority offer both academic and vocational programmes. Some have developed specialisms in particular vocational sectors, such as engineering, rail, land-based, marine engineering, and food technology. Some have steered a strong direction towards engaging particular sections of the population, for example, adults returning to learning, higher education, international students, or training for businesses.
Colleges are key players in helping to deliver Welsh Government's aims to widen participation, tackle social exclusion and stimulate economic regeneration.