By supporting the international activities of further education across Wales, CollegesWales is providing life-changing opportunities for students and staff, boosting collaboration amongst Welsh colleges and supporting the country’s wider educational priorities.
ColegauCymru, or CollegesWales, is a member-led body that represents all further education colleges in Wales. It works to raise the profile of further education amongst decision-makers, whilst improving educational opportunities. Recognising the Welsh government’s key priorities of developing life skills and global citizenship in learners, CollegesWales also plays a central role in organising international opportunities for staff and students across its member institutions.
Supporting colleges across Wales
Through its dedicated international arm, CollegesWales co-ordinates key international activities for colleges across Wales. The body oversees a programme of work experience in countries in Europe for Welsh learners and apprentices, and works with Welsh employers and businesses in to place European learners. Alongside this, it hosts official delegations from other countries wanting to learn about vocational education in Wales and to identify future partnership opportunities. It also co-ordinates a global programme of Continuing Professional Development for teachers, trainers and leaders. Through these activities, CollegesWales helps colleges establish and strengthen their international projects and partnerships, while also strengthening sector-wide collaboration.
Providing life-changing opportunities
By overseeing the management of Erasmus+ consortium applications on behalf of the further education sector in Wales, CollegeWales supports learners and apprentices to participate in work placements across Europe, and enables staff to undertake professional development activities in other countries. For learners participating in Erasmus+, many of whom come from socially deprived areas of Wales and have never travelled before, international mobility can broaden horizons and be a truly life-changing experience. Staff benefit from a unique professional development experience as they get to train alongside peers from other parts of Europe. Participating in Erasmus+ also helps staff members make new connections and build new friendships with staff from other Welsh colleges, giving them a new peer support network back home.
Supporting national priorities
CollegesWales continually works with Welsh further education colleges to identify and develop activities that can support the government’s internationalisation strategy. For example, it supports one group of colleges in Wales to deliver a teacher training delivery model in China by helping them engage with and recruit other Welsh and UK colleges to support the roll-out of this model into more areas of China. With relatively small membership, compared to other similar membership bodies, CollegesWales can remain flexible and responsive when it comes to new international opportunities. This also supports a more collaborative approach amongst colleges in Wales, by enabling them to work together more efficiently and effectively to respond to new international opportunities when they arise.