Universities in Wales vow to help the country bounce back stronger from Covid-19

Universities, employers, and local leaders will be working together to create thousands of local jobs as the recovery from the pandemic gathers pace.

New research published today by Universities UK (UUK), ‘Universities and the UK’s economic recovery: an analysis of future impact’, which was compiled by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), predicts that over the next five years universities in Wales will:

  • Deliver 4,000 years’ worth of upskilling and training to businesses and charities.
  • Help 1,300 new businesses and charities to be formed.
  • Train 10,000 nurses, 4,000 medics, 8,000 teachers.
  • Be part of regeneration projects worth £536 million to the Welsh economy.

The research is published as UUK launches #GettingResults – a campaign to put universities at the heart of the economic and social recovery – with a renewed commitment from universities to do even more to reach out to new partners locally and nationally and deliver even greater impact than currently estimated.

Throughout the pandemic, businesses, and a wide range of sectors not just within Wales, but across the UK, have suffered greatly, leading to economic and social damage. The contributions made by universities and their students through knowledge and skills exchange, partnerships and support for local employers have huge potential to help businesses, industries, and other partners to continue, recover and thrive following the pandemic.

The skills of graduates will also have an important role to play in the future success of businesses and sectors during the Covid-19 recovery process.

Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales, said: “The relationship between business and universities has never been more important than it is today.

By 2030 we must reskill nine in ten workers, transition tens of thousands of workers to new occupations, eradicate the digital skills gap, adapt to automation, and harness the power of AI and 6G. None of these aims are achievable without dynamic and productive relationships between businesses and universities right across Wales.

Businesses and universities in Wales have a strong record of partnership working.  To achieve an inclusive, green and innovative economy, we must build on that record of success.”

Professor Julie Lydon, Chair of Universities Wales said: “Universities in Wales are very much open for business and want to develop even closer links with industry and charities. Our students, staff, researchers, and graduates have so much to offer.

Over the next Senedd term, we look forward to working with Welsh Government to ensure that employers and partners are getting the most out of what our universities can provide during this challenging process of recovery.”

David Blaney, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, said: “Our universities stepped up to the challenges they faced last year, demonstrating their value as part of communities, or using their research and innovation to help us to meet current and future challenges. Higher education institutions also moved quickly to continue supporting students and graduates, which is arguably more important than ever as they compete to find work and contribute to economic regeneration after graduating.

“The higher education sector is part of our national infrastructure, and universities have already shown they are essential in meeting the economic and social challenges we face in building a post-Covid-19 nation.”

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Universities UK’s President, said: “By working closely with their partners, including local government and employers, universities will play a vital role in the UK’s post- recovery. Together, they can contribute significantly to future economic success and improve lives. Moving forward it is important that employers fully take advantage of universities’ support and develop productive relationships so the region can bounce back stronger from the pandemic.”


Find out more about Universities UK’s #GettingResults campaign