On the 5th of May, we hosted our first in-person event since March 2020, and our first in our new home in sbarc|spark. We were delighted to welcome guests and speakers to an afternoon thinking through policy interventions that could support increased participation in post-compulsory education and training, building on our recent reports on Raising the age of participation in education to 18 and Supporting the Welsh Lifelong Learning system.
The event offered a great chance to talk through some of these issues in the context of the Welsh Government’s Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill which will bring the tertiary education sector under a new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, responsible for oversight, regulation and funding of post-compulsory education in Wales. Our panellists, including report authors Professor Sue Maguire, Dr Matt Dickson and Dr Sue Pember CBE, as well as Olly Newton from the Edge Foundation and Huw Morris of Welsh Government, each offered insights and possible policy responses that could help the commission in expanding learning opportunities, particularly for younger people. Here, we outline some of the lessons we learned.
Finally, our speakers stressed the need for a clear and coherent offer across all post-16 pathways, maximising the opportunities presented by the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research. Building a flexible, user-friendly education system that offers clear progression pathways to a broad range of opportunities will take time, but will make a real difference for Wales, and for the life chances of Wales’s young people.