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Education

Council staff are top of the class

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RECENTLY, 11 learners from Carmarthenshire County Council donned their cap and gowns as they graduated from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David with a Post-Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Public Service.

Five further learners from Torfaen County Borough Council also graduated with a Master of Arts in Leadership in Public Service, having completed their graduate certificate qualification previously.

The Leadership in Public Service Programme was initially developed in 2010 through a collaboration between the University’s Wales Institute for Work-based Learning (WIWBL) and Torfaen County Borough Council. The programme is designed to develop the future leaders for the public sector – from those working in the Emergency Services through to Council Officials and Social Housing.

Nick Samuel, Director of the Programme said: “It’s really pleasing to see cohorts from both Carmarthenshire and Torfaen celebrating their success today. They have benefitted themselves through following this programme, however, the real benefactors from their studies are the people they serve in their local community.

“This programme is a true tripartite collaboration between the employers, the development company responsible for delivering the programme and the University itself – with all three working together to improve public services for the citizens of Wales.”

Cllr Mair Stephens, Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Human Resources, said: “A big congratulations to all those who graduated – they have completed their studies whilst undertaking their day to day jobs and have shown great commitment.

“Staff development is a key priority for us, as we want to ensure our officers are well equipped and motivated.

“The rigorous selection process for this scheme gave members of staff an opportunity to hone their interview skills as well as to gain the certificate. It is pleasing to see many of our candidates progress and indeed to have the confidence to apply to more senior posts.”

The programme consists of three modules with the first exploring personal leadership for citizen service, allowing learners to critique their own personal leadership style and compare it with current day thinking. The second looks at the political context of citizen service, asking learners to explore the political pressures that govern their public role; with the final module requiring learners to develop and deliver a change and improvement initiative within their areas of responsibility. Learners who successfully complete all three modules are awarded are then awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Public Service.

UWTSD’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning first launched the Professional Practice Framework in 2009. Since then, the programmes on offer have grown significantly with learners from a range of different backgrounds – including Social Care, Manufacturing, Police and other public and private sector fields – benefiting from opportunities offered as part of these courses.

“It was wonderful to see an overall number of 133 learners graduating from programmes offered by the University’s Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning during this year’s graduation ceremonies,” added Nick Samuel.

“All of our learners are in employment, therefore successfully managing to juggle work commitments with their studies is a great achievement. We’d like to congratulate all of our learners on their success – we are very proud of them all.”

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Education

Apprentices deserve better financial support

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More and better funding: Committee calls for better deal for apprentices

APPRENTICES in Wales should have similar access to financial support as University students.

That’s the main finding from the Assembly’s Economy Infrastructure and Skills Committee, which published its latest report on Apprenticeships in Wales on Thursday​ (Feb 14)​.

Committee Chair, Russell George AM, said: “Parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes needs to be underpinned by parity of support for learners.

“There is a strong moral case for the Welsh Government to apply similar levels of support to apprentices as would be available to their peers in full-time education.”

The Welsh Government has this week launched an advertising campaign to promote a new package of measures for university students which it describes as ​’​the most generous student support package in the UK​’​.

While apprentices receive a wage while they train, they are not eligible for the support available to students, which can make being an apprentice seem less attractive.

The Committee heard that some young people are deterred from entering apprenticeships by the initial costs involved. These can be relatively minor sums of money to travel to interviews, or the first few weeks of work before they get paid.

The Committee’s work found that while there is much that is positive about Apprenticeships in Wales there were a few surprises.

Mr George added: “We were surprised that the number of disabled apprentices in Wales was far below the rate achieved in England.

“We were also concerned that a lack of providers may be preventing young people undertaking apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh.

“There is still a stubborn gender segregation when we talk about apprenticeships. Both the Welsh Government and stakeholders are committed to address this, and are taking steps to do so, but progress has been slow. This issue is not unique to Wales.

“We are recommending annual publication of figures to maintain pressure and ensure that apprenticeships in Wales are available to all.”

The Committee also looked at the role of careers guidance for young people – particularly in schools – to ensure they are being made aware of vocational as well as academic options.

Mr George added: “During the course of our investigation we heard concerns about the way careers advice is delivered in schools. Our additional scrutiny in this area has given us assurance that Careers Wales has a credible plan, and is working closely with the Welsh Government and schools to address these issues. We will keep an eye on whether this proves successful.​”

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Education

Minister visits adult learning initiative

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Eluned Morgan: Inspired by visit to Monkton School

WELSH Language and Lifelong Learning Minister, Eluned Morgan visited Monkton Primary School in Pembrokeshire on Friday, February 9, to hear more about a successful community adult learning initiative run from the school.

Started in September 2012 with support from the Welsh Government, the Launch Project aims to raise adults’ skills standards and education attainment within the community by making learning accessible to everyone.

Both accredited and non-accredited courses and workshops are delivered at the school and other community venues and have been specifically designed to remove barriers so that people in the community can gain the confidence and skills needed to seek employment.

The provision has also been designed to cater for a wide range of learner needs, from basic skills and IT courses to various accredited courses including a foundation degree in Education and Social Inclusion.

During the visit the Minister met with some of the adult learners who have benefitted from the project and heard their personal accounts about how it has helped them to turn their lives around, gain new skills and seize new employment opportunities.

Speaking after the visit, Minister said: “This project is a great example of a community-driven learning initiative that has been designed by the community for the community and I applaud Monkton Primary School for its pivotal role in that.

“The school is clearly committed to lifelong learning and building an ethos of working and learning together, built on mutual respect between adults and children.

“It was also inspiring hearing from those who have benefitted from the project and seeing first hand the positive impact it has had on their lives and their confidence.”

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Education

Extra investment in 21st Century Schools

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Announced £100m extra: Kirsty Williams

£100​M ​is to be invested over the next three years to accelerate the delivery of the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education programme, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams and Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan ​has said.

An extra £75m, has been allocated to the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme to modernise education infrastructure.

In addition, £30m will be released from the programme in future years for immediate investment in capital projects that will contribute to the goal of reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050. This is a shared priority with Plaid Cymru.

The money will bring the total invested over the life of the programme to almost £3.8bn. The first phase of the programme will finish in 2019 having invested £1.4bn to support the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across Wales. The second phase will see a spend of £2.3bn.

Kirsty Williams said: “Our national mission is to raise standards, reduce the attainment gap and deliver an education system that is a source of national pride and confidence. Our 21st Century Schools and Education Programme plays a key part in this and is the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.

“Having a comfortable, modern, fit-for-purpose environment in which to learn is vital to ensuring young people have the best possible education. This extra funding will mean that even more of our students will be able to benefit from having the best possible facilities in their schools and colleges.​”​

Eluned Morgan said: “Reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is a significant challenge and education is key to the success of this ambition. This means we need to invest in new Welsh medium schools and improve and increase the teaching of Welsh in English medium schools. Bringing forward this funding for immediate investment allows us to ensure there is no delay in the work to achieve this target.”

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