A new report by an international team of foundational economy researchers examines the role that further education could play in Welsh economic and social renewal. Enabling Renewal wascommissioned and published by Colegau Cymru / Colleges Wales, the association which brings together all the Welsh Further Education Colleges.
The report argues against the assumption that the role of further education is to serve business demands. As the researchers note, the result in Wales is more narrow certification, a workforce which is increasingly overqualified for the jobs available and no evidence that this attracts inward investment. At the same time, Welsh further education campuses have dense networks of contact with business communities which include some exceptional “shining light” SMEs who combine commercial acumen and social values.
The positive message of the report is that Wales can build on this base so we have more shining light firms and a more capable workforce. The report shows how this can be done. Further education campuses can have a more active role in training for broad occupational categories like customer service, in developing shared apprenticeship schemes and in networking SME firms in sectors like care and construction. In this way, further education can help reorganise the labour market and business communities. More Research Reports can be read here.