The University of South Wales and each of South East Wales’s five Further Education (FE) Colleges have formed a first-of-its-kind Strategic Alliance, which will open up opportunities for people of all ages to progress from further to higher education.
The University of South Wales, with the College Merthyr Tydfil, have entered into a Strategic Alliance with Bridgend College, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent and Coleg Y Cymoedd, to provide Higher Education with Further Education courses across the region.
John O’Shea -The College Merthyr Tydfil, Mark Roberts - Cardiff and Vale College, Prof Julie Lydon, Karen Phillips - Coleg y Cymoedd, John Finch - Bridgend College and Guy Lacey - Coleg Gwent
The Alliance was officially launched yesterday, Wednesday 25th June, by Minister for Education and Skills Huw Lewis who commented,
“This Strategic Alliance is a great development for students in South East Wales. I’d like to thank the five FE colleges and the University of South Wales for their commitment to this collaborative approach. By sharing resources and expertise they are opening the door for many young people in the area, from a variety of different backgrounds, to the prospect of going to University and fulfilling their potential. This can only be good news for learners, the institutions involved and the South East Wales region”.
When combined with the regional reach of the University, the Alliance covers 38 campuses and 98,000 learners across the whole region, with a turnover of £380m.
Professor Julie Lydon OBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University commented, “This unique alliance will provide Further and Higher Education and a coherent and ‘joined up’ way; raising qualifications levels, and providing a skills base to secure the economic development of the region.”
Together, the Alliance will provide structured progression routes from entry to FE to HE level. Students will receive advice, guidance and support from entering FE level courses through to graduating from university.
Professor Lydon continued, “The Alliance will support students’ transition from FE to HE and result in more students making the leap from FE level study to University. Through its network of campuses the Alliance will provide the opportunity to access learning opportunities locally within the community. This provides greater flexibility and opportunity for learners from communities and backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in Further and Higher Education.
“An important feature of the Alliance is the development of a greater understanding of both the FE Colleges and the University of each other’s sectors through the development of joint strategic initiatives, sharing information and learning resources, shared staff development and approaches to marketing and promotion.”
Emil Evans, Director of Curriculum at Cardiff and Vale College said, “The College is delighted to build on our long standing relationship with USW to develop a wide range of sustainable HE opportunities to serve the needs of students, our communities, and employers across South East Wales.”
CASE STUDY | COLEG Y CYMOEDD
A group of media students at Coleg y Cymoedd are already seeing the benefits of having such a close partnership with the University.
Dan Rich, Holly Ash, Scarlett Clarke, Niall Ankin and Joseph Phillips are all studying the Level 3 Creative Media Production (Television & Film) extended diploma and advanced Welsh Baccalaureate.
The course is equivalent to three A levels, and gives students the opportunity to try out a variety of production roles including director, producer, cinematographer and sound designer before specialising in one area.
Scarlett Clarke, 17, from Llantwit Fardre in Pontypridd, is already considering applying to the University of South Wales to study either Film or Computer Games Design. She said, “I have loved my college course so far. Our assignments are so varied and I’ve been able to work on producing documentaries, short films and adverts, which has all been great experience to start preparing for a degree.”
Dan Rich, 16, from Tongwynlais, has enjoyed the practical side of the course and is looking forward to furthering his studies in filmmaking. He said, “I decided to study Media at Coleg y Cymoedd because I thought it would open up opportunities for working at places like the BBC in the future. My strength is definitely in filming, and with facilities such as Pinewood coming to Cardiff, it’s a great time to be aiming for a career in the Welsh film and TV industry.”