NEW YEAR HONOURS: Skills champion and former principal recognised in New Year’s Honours for Services to Skills and Young People in Wales


29.12.2018

Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has been recognised in the Queen’s Honours for his Services to Skills and Young People in Wales.

Barry Liles OBE

A former Principal of Coleg Sir Gâr, Barry Liles receives an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year’s Honours  list announced today (29 December). 

He said: “I feel extremely privileged to be recognised in the New Year’s honours but appreciate that I owe so much to others who have supported me. I am so grateful to my former staff at Coleg Sir Gâr, colleagues and stakeholders without whom this recognition would not have been possible”.

Barry is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor responsible for Skills & Lifelong Learning at UWTSD where he continues to create opportunities for young people to further their careers and to provide them with the right skills for progression into sustainable employment. He is also the Chair of the Carmarthenshire Public Services Board and Vice Chair of the Regional Learning & Skills Partnership, he contributes to a number of industrial and employer fora and has been influential in many regional and national skills development initiatives.

Barry is a keen advocate of skills development, particularly through work based learning apprenticeships, having started his career as an engineering apprentice himself at Coleg Sir Gâr.  He says “The skills landscape is changing fast with the advent of new and emerging technologies. The provision of skills development is critical to prepare young people for employment and also for improving the economy of the region”.

He is a Trustee and Board member of Worldskills UK representing the interests of Wales and as the Skills Champion for Wales since 2009, he has led the development of Team Wales which prepares young people for international skills competitions. The success of which has seen a year-on-year growth in the number of Welsh competitors and those who have achieved outstanding success at national and international competitions. It is an achievement for which he is particularly proud, in particular the success of Welsh competitors at the bi-annual Worldskills competitions, having witnessed four Welsh competitors, as part of Team UK, return with Medallions of Excellence from the last Worldskills competition held in Abu Dhabi.

Barry retired as Principal and CEO of Coleg Sir Gâr last year having worked at the College for 35 years, including as its leader for 8 years. In 2013, he led the merger of Coleg Sir Gâr into a group structure with UWTSD creating a unique dual sector university serving the needs of South West Wales. In 2017 he led the integration of Coleg Ceredigion with Coleg Sir Gâr, delivering a broad provision of schools based programmes, further education, workbased learning and higher education via seven campuses across Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Barry continues to be at the forefront of the transformation of education in Wales and is actively involved in a range of collaborative initiatives aimed at responding to the current and future economic and social imperatives of the region.

I am delighted that Barry Liles has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for his services to skills and young people in Wales” said Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD. “He is a true proponent of the transformative role of education and skills development in creating opportunities to transform the life chances of individuals and communities. Congratulations on this wonderful achievement”.