Plaid Cymru proposes radical educational shifts to future-proof economy
The Party of Wales Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas has outlined his vision for radical changes to the education system in order to nurture the skills and experience that the Welsh economy needs.
Mr Thomas said that increasingly, qualifications alone are not enough to secure young people the jobs that they would like to do, and he highlighted a number of options that Plaid Cymru was exploring to address the issue.
Raising the school leaving age to 18, with the expectation that a young person remains in school, training, college, apprenticeships or employment with training until this age.
The reform of vocation courses to raise awareness and tackle perceptions of apprenticeships as a valid career choice through better targeted careers advice, and an UCAS-style application process.
The creation of a Citizens Service for Wales which offers an accredited programme for 18-25 year olds working at above national minimum wage in the public, private or third sector.
The Party of Wales Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas said:
"As our economy has developed, so our need for higher level skills has increased. Increasingly, qualifications alone are not enough to secure young people the jobs they would like to do. Employers are increasingly asking for the kind of experience that some gain through taking unpaid internships or work experience. But this option isn’t available to everyone, and many can’t afford to do it.
"But everyone should be able to achieve it and that’s why we need to make sure that young people can leave college with the skills and experience they need to gain and retain employment.
"Plaid Cymru is proposing innovative ways of doing this.
"We are putting forward ideas to raise the school leaving age to 18, to develop a Citizen Service for Wales and to ensure that post-15 exams develop and measure a student’s skills as well as knowledge.
"Young people who want to make the transition from education to work face numerous barriers, and we need to work to help them overcome them, so that everyone is able to reach their potential. Educating our young people and getting them into good-quality, well-paid jobs is the most effective tool we have for tackling poverty and improving our economy, and Plaid Cymru is working hard to ensure that that happens."