THE WELSH GOVERNMENT is investing £3.5m in a programme run by Wales’ universities to drive international partnerships and promote Wales as a study destination in a post Brexit world, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced.
The new funding is for Global Wales, a partnership between Universities Wales, British Council Wales, the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The support is via the Welsh Government’s £50m EU Transition Fund to help business, public services and others prepare for the impacts of Brexit.
Established in 2015, Global Wales promotes Wales’ universities in priority overseas markets: Vietnam and the United States. This funding will see a significant increase in the scope and scale of the programme to deliver the Study in Wales brand globally, develop existing activity in the US and Vietnam, and to expand to other markets. The aim is to drive education exports and boost Wales’ profile as an outward-facing knowledge-economy.
Both Vietnam and the US have been identified as two increasingly important markets for a post-Brexit Wales. The funding will reflect this by supporting a Wales-Vietnam scholarship programme, identifying areas for joint-research and promoting Wales as a distinct study destination for Vietnam,the United States and other key markets, including Europe.
The Education Secretary’s announcement coincides with the visit to Wales by His Excellency Tran Ngoc An, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, which will see discussions on strengthening educational links between the two countries.
Kirsty Williams said: “I am very pleased to announce this funding for Global Wales so that they can strengthen the developing relationships we have with both Vietnam and the US.
“In a post-Brexit world we need to make sure that our HE sector continues to reach out to new and emerging markets.
“Our universities have so much to offer so we need to make sure that we look further afield to capitalise on the growing demand for higher education globally.
“I’m proud to welcome His Excellency Tran Ngoc An to Wales and hope that this announcement will be the beginning of a very productive partnership between our two countries.”
Ambassador Tran Ngoc An said: “As Ambassador of Vietnam to the UK, I highly appreciate the announcement of the Welsh Government to establish a fund for promotion of education co-operation between Wales and Vietnam. I am confident that with strong political will and join effort, our education co-operation will certainly be further developed.
“Our Minister of Education and Training is looking forward to welcoming HE Mrs Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary of Education to Vietnam to lay a foundation for our education co-operation.”
Prof. Iwan Davies, Chair of the Global Wales Board, said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government is making this significant new investment in Global Wales. The announcement today represents an important vote of confidence in our world class universities and the role that they, along with the Global Wales partners, play in helping to underpin the economy of Wales.
“Overseas students, international research collaboration and global institutional partnerships all help build trust and goodwill for Wales around the world, which in turn, has the potential to have a transformational impact on the Welsh economy. In the uncertain context of Brexit, this new investment in Global Wales will strengthen the major contribution that higher education plays to Wales’ international engagement and reputation for years to come.”
Carmarthenshire Labour targets Council reserves to fund Carmarthenshire school buses
Plans have been unveiled by the Opposition Group on Carmarthenshire Council that would see the recently cut school routes being reinstated, along with an ambitious plan to purchase low emission buses over the next three years.
Carmarthenshire Labour, working alongside Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM, have announced that they intend to force a vote on utilising the Council’s general reserves, which currently amount to around £10 million, in effort to support hard-pressed families and the local environment.
School pupils in Carmarthenshire have seen many of their school bus routes cut in recent months, as a result of the introduction of new regulations by the UK Government. The regulations, passed in 2000 and phased in over several years, restricts the types of vehicles the bus companies could use to ensure that all vehicles can accept wheelchairs. The changes have caused a number of school bus routes to be axed with around 500 pupils directly affected.
Labour state that temporarily funding the axed services could cost approximately £400k and would provide the necessary time needed to establish a long-term solution to the issue.
Alongside Carmarthenshire Labour’s plans to use general reserves to support the reintroduction of vital bus routes, the Group also intend to vote for £3 million of capital reserves to be earmarked for the purchase of ultra-low emission buses, laying the foundations for a new sustainable bus service for the county.
Councillor Rob James, leader of Carmarthenshire Labour, stated “I am proud to announce Carmarthenshire Labour’s ambitious plan to address the Carmarthenshire school bus crisis affecting hundreds of school pupils.
“Having spent months consulting with colleagues across the region, and working with families to find a solution, the self evident answer to this crisis is for Carmarthenshire Council to temporarily fund the bus services and set about establishing a long-term, sustainable solution.
“Carmarthenshire is at the back of the pack when it comes to connectivity. Communities, businesses and families across Carmarthenshire experience the daily struggles associated with years of underfunding on transportation. It is now our vulnerable children that are suffering from this Council’s inaction.The reinstatement of the school routes will safeguard and support our pupils to travel to their place of study.
“This is also an opportunity to address the poor connectivity and lack of public transport that have suffocated our county for many years. We can address the climate crisis, the bus crisis and drastically improve public transport in Carmarthenshire with this plan. I sincerely hope that the Plaid Cymru and Independent coalition back the proposals.”
Rethink For Ysgol Dewi Sant Development
Carmarthenshire Council have announced that the controversial rebuild of Ysgol Dewi Sant on recreational playing fields is no longer going ahead.
The contentious plans for the new £9.1 million primary school in Llanelli were on hold whilst the Welsh Government considered a call-in request.
Teachers and governors have been informed that it would not a good use of public resources to continue with the site previously selected and that the Council had already begun work on identifying a new site.
Carmarthenshire Council carried out a public consultation prior to submitting a planning application in April 2018. A design and access statement noted that Llanerch fields were felt to be the most appropriate of the nine sites considered.
Cllr Rob James, local member for Lliedi and Opposition Leader, stated “A meeting has been held with Council Officers, Governors and staff to discuss the rebuild of Ysgol Dewi Sant, where those present were informed that the school would not be built on Llanerch field.
“It was stressed that the funding of the new school has not been lost and that work has already begun on identifying a suitable location for the school.
“A decision has now been made on the future of Ysgol Dewi Sant that provides clarity to pupils, parents, teachers, staff and residents.
“I appreciate the patience of all involved, as this has been a very sensitive matter.
“As a local member, and governor of Ysgol Dewi Sant, I will be working intensively with Council Officers, the school, pupils, parents and residents to ensure that we identify a suitable site for Ysgol Dewi Sant as soon as possible.
“It is my ambition that we can identify a new site and gain planning permission by the end of the year.
“Ysgol Dewi Sant has a tremendous reputation, not just in Llanelli, but across Wales as the first Welsh medium school to be run by a local authority. It is the desire of all involved to ensure that a 21st century school is build for the pupils and teaching staff that will enable the school to continue to thrive.”
Award wants to unearth College talent
THE SEARCH is on to find the cream of Carmarthen’s creative photography and film talent, as one of the nation’s most prestigious student photography awards is now open for entries.
The annual ‘EIZO Awards’ organised by a leading manufacturer of monitor solutions, EIZO, is designed to champion creativity behind the lens and provide a vital career kick-start to talented students looking to follow in the footsteps of the UK’s photography greats.
Coleg Sir Gar students across creative disciplines such as commercial and editorial photography and film direction can enter the awards to be in with a chance of winning the top prize – an EIZO ColorEdge monitor and exclusive placement with one of the world-renowned judges.
This year, the EIZO award is open to film submissions as well as photography entries.
Now in its 4th year, the judges for this year’s awards are all UK-based professional photographers and include; Tim Flach a London based animal photographer; Helen Jennings, an esteemed editor, consultant and curator whose specialisms include visual arts and Alistair Taylor-Young, a British photographer and film director whose impressive client list boasts Dior, Bloomingdales and Fendi.
There will be three total winners, one chosen by each of the judges. One of the former winners of the 2018-19 award is Jimmy Lee (26), a previous student from University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, who commented: “I entered the award as EIZO is a well-established brand in the creative industry. It was a great opportunity to connect with professionals in the creative network. My advice would be to be yourself and submit the work that you really enjoy!”
Hayley Osborne, Head of Marketing and Communications for EIZO Limited, added: “There is a wealth of photography talent across the UK and so our awards are designed to unlock that skill, flair and imagination. By working closely with universities, we want to champion the creative photographer film and image-makers of the future and give students the best possible platform to showcase their work. We’d love to see what the students of Carmarthen have to offer!”
Both universities and students can now download a copy of the EIZO Awards brief and find details on how to enter including terms and conditions at www.eizocolour.com/eizo-award/. Entry submissions are now open and close on Thursday 14th May 2020. Judging will commence in May next year, before the winners are announced in June 2020.
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