Party of Wales Leader Leanne Wood has announced her intention to explore with business, teachers and universities how best to include the teaching of engineering in Welsh schools, including embedding the subject from primary school age.
Leanne Wood said:
“Our greatest asset, like all countries is our people.
“How and what we invest in our young people in particular will have a bearing on our prospects for decades.
“We’re all aware of the headlines that have emerged in recent months on Wales’ relative performance in education outcomes compared to other countries.
“Clearly, we’re not performing well enough.
“But rather than wallow and focus energy on political point scoring, I want to contribute to a mature discussion on what we’re going to do ensure our young people leave school with the skills our economy need and they need in order to open opportunities for them.
“There are examples across the world of countries with highly skilled workforces.
“We have a good idea too of where we need to up our game in Wales in terms of skills.
“So let’s get on with it.
“We all know and I think we all agree that two key sectors where Wales must catch up and eventually lead are in the digital sector and in engineering.
“We’re a creative country and we can be leaders once again with our hands and our brains.
“I want to work with you and with the teaching profession and others to examine how we can develop and adapt the current subject areas in our school such as Design and Technology and ICT to enhance skills in Mechanical, Technical, Civil and Digital Engineering.
“This might involve the emergence of two new subject areas such as Digital Engineering and Technical Engineering.
“Both could be introduced at primary school and be compulsory to Key Stage Four where students can opt to specialise as part of their GCSE options.
“It is my view that an upgrading as I describe will result in an up-skilling that we’ve been talking about as a country for some time.
“It’s what many other countries have done and have benefited from.”
FSB Wales Policy Unit Chair Janet Jones said:
“We are delighted that Leanne Wood has joined us to outline her vision for the Welsh economy to our members.
“It is vital that politicians from all political parties work with the business community in Wales so that together we can build a stronger economy in the years to come. It is in the interests of us all to strive for a more prosperous nation, built around the businesses which are the foundation our communities.
“Ms Wood is right to note that issues around skills, infrastructure and procurement will all have a bearing on our future prosperity and it was good to see her setting out her stall on these important subjects.”