Learning and Work Institute response to Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams AM statement on The Hazelkorn Review of Welsh Education on 31 January 2017

The Cabinet Secretary’s Statement provides leadership and direction of travel towards a more joined up approach to post-compulsory education and a welcome recognition of the need for access to flexible education and training throughout life.

Our ambition for the reforms is for coherent and accessible learning pathways for learners in Wales no matter how old they are, where they live and how they want to study.  The challenges set out by the Cabinet Secretary; tackling skills gaps, achieving high standards, technological change in the workplace and longer working lives all reinforce the need for a new approach to education and training. We hope this marks a step change in lifelong learning policy and opportunities so that the numerous economic, social and personal benefits are realised across Wales.

Later this year, the Welsh Government will consult on establishing a new organisation with over-arching responsibilities for the whole of the post-compulsory education and training. We believe this is an important step forward in delivering coherent and relevant learning pathways. This would require colleagues from across the sector to engage and work in partnership to meet the vision set out by the Cabinet Secretary.

Jeff Greenidge, Chair of Learning and Work Institute Wales Strategy Group commented: “We hope to see adult and community learning (ACL) representatives involved in informing the new body’s strategy alongside representatives from further and higher education. ACL provision is often a vital first step back in to learning and provides people with the skills and self-confidence to progress. We also hope that a single strategy for post-compulsory education will remedy inequalities in the status and the funding of different forms of learning; including part-time learning.

“People’s learning journeys are often complex, with very different starting points and different experiences with education and training. There is a clear link between poor basic skills and poverty so we hope to see basic and essential skills, including literacy, numeracy and digital skills, feature prominently in the strategy of the new organisation.”

Learning and Work Institute has long argued that lifelong learning, work-based learning and part-time learning are essential parts of a strong post-compulsory education sector and vital for social mobility. We are pleased to see this recognised by the Welsh Government and look forward to working with them on making sure these principles create the opportunities that people and businesses need.