Universities Wales | Manifesto

Over the first 12 days of December we’ll be featuring our ‘asks’ for the future Welsh Government! Come back every day to see what we believe should be the six fundamental commitments to universities for the future Welsh Government with some great examples of why we’re making these ‘asks’ from our Welsh Universities! Our full manifesto can be found here.

Commitment 1

Provide means-tested maintenance grants for Welsh students from foundation through to postgraduate level to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to the life changing opportunities provided through higher education.

Further information

Case study

Kayleigh Hall, full time student in Health & Social Care at Cardiff Met, Llandaff Campus:

“When I was in school I didn’t go very often, through personal difficulties at home, even though I really enjoyed education. I did a First Campus residential trip when I was fourteen, where we stayed at Cyncoed Campus and I really enjoyed it as it opened my eyes to how great university could be. I left with quite a few GCSE’s but I still didn’t think it would be enough to get into university.

After I left school I had two children and I went back to university at twenty- two. I did an Access course to get into University and attended a few of the open days, but I kept freezing. I think the turning point for me coming to University was the residential; it really helped, because at that point I thought it was only for people with a lot of money and for people who were highly educated and I really didn’t think I would get that sort of chance. I did my Access course in College and I was absolutely adamant that I was going because I wanted to be the first one in my family to university and leave with a degree and that is what has happened, I’m the first one. I really fell in love with the course, I found it quite a broad subject and I enjoyed it. After I finish this degree I’m hoping to go on to a Masters, maybe in Child Psychology.”

Commitment 2

Prioritise university funding towards the policies that both provide opportunities to access an internationally competitive, high quality university education and deliver economic and social benefits for individuals, government and businesses in Wales.

Further information

Case study

Jake Durham, trombonist at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama:

“I am one of four children and come from what you would probably call a working class family. Nobody in my family had ever been to university so I had no one that I could chat to about university as even being an option for me.

Considering my family situation and circumstances, I didn’t think that I could have afforded to have gone to University. Finance was a barrier to me at first partly because I didn’t know anything about the grants and loans that were available but when I looked into this in more detail I realised that I could actually afford to go to university to study a degree because you don’t pay your fees until after you graduate. People talk about the money and how expensive it is to go to university but I feel that I have taken full advantage of all the opportunities on offer and I really feel that I got my money’s worth on my undergrad degree course. Now that I have graduated, I am desperate to provide a greater foundation for my career by going onto further study at postgraduate level. However, given that there is no government financial support available in Wales for postgraduate study in either grants or loans, I cannot even consider this as an option.”

Commitment 3

Maintain in real terms the quality-related (QR) research budget that underpins Wales’ world leading research.

Further information

Case study

Reducing unnecessary attendance at hospital emergency departments by improving care out of hospital:

A programme of work by Professor Helen Snooks and her research team at Swansea University has reduced the number of people being taken to Emergency Departments (ED) by ambulance. A review led by Snooks reported that 40% of calls to emergency health services world-wide did not need an ambulance as they were not life-threatening or serious. In collaboration with ambulance service providers, policy makers and academics, the research team identified safe alternatives for transport to emergency departments, such as providing nurse advice over the phone or referral to non-emergency health services. In 2012-13 over 360,000 emergency calls were resolved through telephone advice, avoiding ambulance dispatch. As new models of ambulance service care are introduced in the UK and internationally in response to Professor Snooks’ research, the proportion of emergency calls resulting in patient transport to hospital has fallen. This fell from 68% in 2007-8 to 55% in 2012-3, with estimated cost savings from avoided ambulance journeys alone of £24 million.

Commitment 4

Continue investment in part-time provision both to widen access to higher education and develop crucial skills within the Welsh workforce, mindful that part-time provision requires distinct support and investment in order to deliver for Wales.

Further information

Case Study

Part-time study was the perfect solution for Ann-Louise from Ely, Cardiff, aged 47 as she works part-time, is a single Mum and a carer to other family members.

While volunteering in her daughter’s school, Ann-Louise studied The Open University’s Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Primary Schools to train to become a teaching assistant. Ann-Louise has now set her sights even higher and has progressed to studying a BA(hons) Childhood and Youth Development intending to specialise in supporting children with special needs.

James Frowen, aged 34 from Cardiff, has been a civil servant since 1998.

In his role as a Business Transformation Manager at Companies House, he is responsible for heading an initiative to merge the two largest operational areas within the organisation. As a trained facilitator and qualified coach, he has the additional responsibility of overseeing a Coaching Network. When considering his options for study, part time was the obvious choice for James as it allowed him to work full time and continue to provide for his family. He started studying in November 2009, completing his BA (Hons) Leadership & Management degree in April 2014. During this time, he managed his work in his day job, academic and family commitments, as well as continuing to carry out his role as a Community First Responder. James went on to win The Open University’s Business School International Leadership and Management Student of the Year in 2014/15.

Commitment 5

Retain a funding and oversight body for higher education in Wales to manage risk and provide stability to the sector, provide assurance to Government and enable universities to continue delivering for Wales.

Further information

Case Study

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) has expertise that allows it to hit the ground running to secure intelligent, creative solutions to policy and funding challenges. HEFCW was able to implement the Welsh Government’s new fees and funding regime for students from 2012, and brokered a solution to help keep public spending for students in check.

Commitment 6

Actively support Wales remaining a member of the European Union.

Further information

Case Study

EU-funded project, led by Bangor University has improved sustainable fisheries management and reduced wildlife crime:

Application of Bangor’s DNA forensic research has had major impacts on the management and control of illegal wildlife trade. After initial work providing evidence for criminal prosecutions with wider deterrent effects on wildlife crime, Bangor-led research went on to apply these techniques to trace fish (products) to their source populations to ban illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices. Since 2009, this work has improved stock management by the UK government and European Commission, directly affected the Common Fisheries Policy reform and has been implemented by the Marine Stewardship Council as a verification tool for correct labelling of products.

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