Lifelong learning central to helping people and businesses rebound from the pandemic


The collaborative work being carried out by UWTSD’s Constructive Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) to ensure the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions, is featured in a new report, The College of the Future.

The collaborative work being carried out by UWTSD’s Constructive Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) to ensure the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions, is featured in a new report, The College of the Future.

Sir Ian Diamond says lifelong learning is central to helping people and businesses rebound from the pandemic.

Radical, long-term education and skills reforms and investment are needed to address current and future skills gaps and transform life chances for every adult. The Independent Commission on the College of the Future, calls for colleges to be placed front and centre of those reforms across the UK’s four nations in its ground-breaking new report published on October 28. 

The report calls for every adult to have the right to lifetime education and training, with colleges better supported to deliver this in every community across the UK. The Commission has set out how colleges can be supported across the four nations of the UK to deliver the lifelong learning and business support needed for people, employers and communities to survive and thrive in the future. The vision and recommendations are endorsed by leaders from across business, academia, unions, colleges, and the student body from all four nations.

A pan-Wales enterprise led by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Group and involving Coleg Sir Gar, Coleg Ceredigion, Coleg y Cymoedd and Coleg Cambria is ensuring that the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions nationally across Wales.

The hub and spoke delivery model of CWIC uses employer intelligence to make sure the right skills are in place to meet the current and future industry demand both reactively and proactively.

Spokes provide an integrated career development pathway between operatives, trades and professional construction occupations, under guidance provided by the Swansea-based Hub. They actively work together and share best practices. This is contributing to new levels of collaborative working between the education sector (schools, FE, HE and private providers) and the construction industry.

CWIC met and exceeded its three-year planned targets to responsively and flexibly meet the needs of the Welsh construction industry. The training offered by CWIC across Wales has focused upon developing and delivering innovation and outcomes are assisting companies to grow and prosper through skills development.

“It is vital we have the right training in place to create the workforce of the future. CITB funding for CWIC has enabled key partners across Wales to come together and deliver the skills needed by construction firms and the Welsh economy.” Mark Bodger Partnership Director CITB Cymru

Recent research from CBI found that nine in ten people will need new skills by 2030 to support the future economy, and that further and faster action is needed. The case for action is clear: Covid-19 consequences, leaving the EU, climate change and the fourth industrial revolution mean that everyone will need access to part-time, adult and vocational education as the economy and jobs change.

Radical change is needed in education and skills policies and systems so that colleges can encourage people to train, upskill or acquire new skills throughout their lives for the jobs of tomorrow. 

The recommendations in the report call for the changes that are needed for colleges to deliver on lifelong learning.

Provide grants and loans that allow college students to live well whilst studying to bring down barriers many adults face to further study and training, particularly those on low incomes, in precarious employment, and for those  who require retraining or upskilling opportunities (due to Covid-19 and labour market changes).

  • It will also offer equity for students across further and higher education by reflecting the specific additional support that groups will need – including childcare costs, travel costs, additional funding to support disabled students and scrapping limits when claiming benefits.
  • Establish a new service through college employer hubs to tackle skills gaps, giving businesses a one-stop shop for upskilling current employees, finding the skilled workers they need, as well as innovation support, for example prototyping. 

Overhaul, rebalance and integrate the whole post-16 education and skills system in each nation with a 10-year strategy for how colleges will deliver what each nation’s economy and society needs and redressing funding inequity where it exists.

The report is the first time that experts and leaders from across the four nations of the UK have come together in this way. It argues that there are key themes that must be developed and reaffirmed in each of the four nations, to meet common challenges that all nations face.  It will be followed by short reports setting out how to deliver these recommendations in the specific policy contexts of each nation.

The vision that the Commission set out in July was for the college of the future to empower people throughout their lives with the skills they need to get on in life, support better productivity and innovation of businesses, and strengthen every community’s sense of place.

Sir Ian Diamond, Chair of the Independent Commission on the College of the Future and UK National Statistician said: 

“Colleges are vital yet under-utilised institutions that offer the transformational learning and support that our four nations need now, more than ever, if we are to face the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and to drive a sustainable, inclusive economy.

“We must all commit to a bold ambition on skills. Lifelong learning is the only way to ensure people and businesses will survive the recession and thrive in the future. With the right support, colleges can deliver on this urgent need for every community.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

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