Review of the Skills System in Wales


03 01 2024

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Learning and Work Institute was commissioned by Welsh Government in February 2023, to undertake a review of the skills system in Wales. This research was designed to be a thought piece to explore different visions for vocational education and training in Wales.

The review provided an overview of the evidence on establishing a cohesive skills system which differentiates Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET) programmes, typically undertaken within the formal education system and during the transition to work and Continuing Vocational Education and Training (CVET) programmes, which are generally pursued after initial education and after entry into working life, for adults to acquire or improve their knowledge and skills and advance their professional development. The overview of the evidence was then tested with experts and sector representatives.

The impact of the pandemic and Brexit, high levels of economic inactivity, changes to UK migration policy, and wider societal change, including the development of new technologies, digitalisation, and transformation to net-zero have created new challenges and opportunities for the economy, labour market and skills system.

Given the changing landscape, it is crucial to examine the skills system to identify how skills training programs can effectively prepare individuals for the working world and support lifelong learning.

The research explored three key themes – the strategic and systemic aspects of VET; delivery and curriculum considerations; and the benefits and impact of VET.

Some of the main findings from the research included:

Strategic and systemic aspects of VET

  • There are inconsistencies between the collaboration of employers and learning providers across Wales.
  • The needs of the CVET cohort (25 years and over) are seen as largely different to IVET learners and apprentices.
  • CTER has an opportunity to address some historical inequalities that affect both IVET and CVET.

Curriculum and delivery aspects of VET

  • The flexibility of qualifications is crucial to enable an agile VET system.
  • Both IVET and CVET play key roles in widening participation, access, and inclusion.
  • The provision of well-informed and impartial career information, advice, and guidance is important for both IVET and CVET learners.

Perspectives on the benefits and impact of VET

  • The positive impact of VET on the individual is the basis for wider social, employer, and economic impacts.
  • The different needs of age cohorts lead to different priorities for each within the IVET and CVET cohorts.
  • Employers are identified by stakeholders as a key beneficiary of both IVET and CVET.
  • Transferable or transversal skills are a key element to measure as a mediator of impact.
RSSW - Key recommendations - English

Explore the findings in our report


‘It’s time for all of us to get involved in VET’

by Mark Ravenhall, associate of Learning and Work Institute

Get in touch

If you would like any further information about the project, get in touch with project manager, Jackie Woodhouse.

Commission for Tertiary Education and Research

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