Welsh businesses and the country’s education sector have been sharing the secrets of their skills training success with visitors from as far away as Yemen and Nepal.
The visitors took part in the British Council’s UK National Skills Strategy Seminar (12 to 15 January) and they were impressed with the development of the skills sector in Wales – with many delegates keen to use Welsh ideas in their home countries.
Highlight of the seminar was a visit to the Cardiff and Vale College International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT) at Cardiff Airport, where delegates learned how the college is helping train the aerospace engineers of the future.
They were very impressed with the facility, with some commenting that they would use the college’s work as a benchmark in their own countries.
Delegates were also able to hear from Welsh education experts and to meet with local business leaders and employers, including representatives of GE Aviation, Wales and West Utilities and Sony.
Dr Mohammad Youssef, Deputy Minister for Vocational Education, Ministry of Education, Egypt, said he would be using some of the strategies to inform the approach to skills development in Egypt: “I gained a lot of knowledge and learnt about best practice in the UK. I will be using the knowledge acquired to introduce changes in Egypt.”
Julie James, Welsh Government deputy minister for skills and technology addressed the conference and told the delegates: “One of the biggest challenges we face as a Welsh Government is ensuring that Wales’ young people have the right skills to ensure that they can maximise their employment prospects.
“Given the current economic conditions, we cannot continue to be the primary source of funding for skills training. As we have indicated in our new Skills Strategy, we have to share this responsibility, between the Welsh Government, employers and individuals.
“There are over 400,000 young people in Wales and I want every one of them to have the support they need to progress through education and training into employment.”
Jenny Scott, director of British Council Wales, said: “The skills sector in Wales benefits from strong links between employers and further education colleges – and this was one of the things our international delegates were particularly interested in. I am delighted that some of our major employers in South Wales supported the skills seminar by giving their own perspectives on how excellent, locally-delivered vocational training is enhancing their competitiveness and sustainability as organisations. This is an area where Wales is leading the world.”
Senior government officials and policy makers from Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Tunisia and Yemen attended the conference.
The conference was organised by the British Council and is one of a series that will be held in the UK’s four home nation capitals.