HEW Weekly Wrap Up 12 September 2014

News – Welsh Government cabinet reshuffle

On 11 September 2014, the First Minister reshuffled his top team. The cabinet comings and goings are online here:

  • Carwyn Jones AM – First Minister
    • Leighton Andrews AM – rejoins cabinet, new post – Minister for Public Services
    • Jeff Cuthbert AM – leaves cabinet – was Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty.
    • Mark Drakeford AM – staying in post – Minister for Health and Social Services.
    • John Griffiths AM – leaves cabinet – Minister for Culture and Sport, post downgraded.
    • Lesley Griffiths AM – becomes Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty – was Minister for Local Government and Government Business.
    • Edwina Hart AM – staying in post – Minister for Economy, Science and Transport.
    • Jane Hutt AM – staying in post but with added responsibility for government business– Minister for Finance.
    • Huw Lewis AM – staying in post– Minister for Education and Skills.
    • Carl Sargeant AM  becomes Minister for Natural Resources – was Minister for Housing and Regeneration.
    • Theodore Huckle QC – Counsel General.

Deputy ministers:

  • Rebecca Evans AM, – becomes Deputy Minister for Farming and Food– was Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.
  • Vaughan Gething AM – becomes Deputy Minister for Health – he was Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty.
  • Julie James AM – becomes Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology
    • Ken Skates AM – becomes Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism under Edwina Hart – was Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology.
    • Gwenda Thomas AM – stepping down – Deputy Minister for Social Services.

Source: Welsh Government

News – Welsh Government reinstates the Financial Contingency Fund for 2014/15

On 12 September 2014, the Welsh Government announced it is to reinstate the Financial Contingency Fund (FCF) for this academic year. Education Minister Huw Lewis said “I think it is appropriate that from academic year 2015-16 universities should establish their own discretionary hardship funds, and we will be discussing options with students and institutions,” he said. He argued support in Wales for students in higher education was “still the most generous package offered by any of the UK administrations” but insisted it was time “for individual institutions to assist with some of the heavy lifting“. The Minister’s announcement is on the Welsh Government website. The delay to the cut has been welcomed by the National Union of Students, who have been campaigning to save the fund.

News – WHEB meetings with Jane Hutt AM, and David Melding AM

This week, Welsh Higher Education Brussels (WHEB) raised the profile of HE engagement at European level with two Welsh politicians in Brussels this week. Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance which includes European funding was in Brussels to speak at the Cohesion Forum. She visited Wales House for a meeting with WHEB, Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) where WHEB outlined key upcoming activities e.g. speakers from Swansea and Cardiff Metropolitan universities at the forthcoming Open Days for regions and cities in Brussels. WHEB also met with David Melding AM who as Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee was visiting Brussels to follow up on the report on ‘Wales’ role in the EU decision-making process’ (March 2014). WHEB was able to update Mr Melding on its links with Welsh MEPs, European Commission staff, UK Permanent Representation and other EU bodies and networks.

News – New ‘Go International’ website for study and work abroad opportunities

On 9 September 2014, the Go International website was launched, and is designed to provide higher education institutions with the key information, statistics, research, case studies and opportunities for study and work abroad to assist them in encouraging more UK students to spend time overseas. The website also contains information on the benefits of studying, working and volunteering abroad, as well as practical advice on sources of funding for students and their parents. Traditionally, less than one percent (14,775) of UK students study abroad and almost half of these,(43%) are language students.  International experience is just as important for graduates who want a job in the UK as it is for those who might go on to work abroad.

Publication – HEW responds to Welsh Government draft budget proposals

HEW has responded to the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2015/16. The response is available in full on the HEW website.

Event – Newton Fund Conference

The UK Higher Education International Unit (IU) is hosting a one day conference on the Newton Fund on 21 October 2014 in London. The event will provide opportunities to learn more about the Newton Fund, from its high level objectives to the type of activities it will support, as well as the requirements for participation. Speakers include senior representatives from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), as well as each of the delivery partners in the UK. Details are available online.