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Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 13 January 2017

THE article by Kirsty Williams and Julie James

This jointly written article on the Higher Education and Research Bill appeared in the Times Higher Education (THE) online. In agreement with our proposed amendment to the Bill they call for representation from each of the four UK nations on the board of UKRI.

Job Vacancy – Universities Wales Office Manager

Universities Wales has a vacancy in its busy team for an office manager and PA to the director. The post holder will play an important role in the organisation that promotes and supports universities in Wales, representing their collective interests to the National Assembly for Wales, UK Parliament, political parties, and internationally. Underpinning Universities’ Wales activity is its support for the cultural and social value of higher education and the positive impact that a university education can have on individuals, communities and the economy of Wales.

Location:                     Cardiff

Salary:                         £23,174 to £25,722 per annum

Post Type:                   Permanent, Full Time

Closing Date:              Friday 20 January 2017

Interview Date:            Wednesday 01 February 2017

Please see here for more information and to apply.

SPA briefing on equal consideration deadlines 

With the 15 January deadline approaching, SPA felt it was timely to produce a short briefing to help admissions staff with any internal or external queries about equal consideration deadlines. SPA has received several enquiries recently and are aware that the purpose and uses of such deadlines may not be known by some HE staff and within related sector bodies.

Equal consideration timelines are critical to achieving the aim cited in the Schwartz Report of, “Equal consideration for all individuals, regardless of background, to gain admission to a course suited to their ability and aspirations.”

At the end of last year SPA also launched two new modules for our good practice toolkit – Applicant complaints and appeals & applicant feedback – available here.

New for 2017 – Political Update

The Plaid Cymru debate during Wednesday’s Plenary session was held on The Welsh Higher Education Sector. The full transcript is available here, while a webcast of the proceedings can be viewed again here.

On the day of the debate, Plaid Cymru issued a press release warning Westminster not to be a “barrier between Wales and the world” and highlighted the importance of the EU to the Welsh higher education sector.

During the debate, Huw Irranca-Davies thanked Universities Wales for the briefing material they had provided and the following motion was passed with the support of Labour and Plaid Cymru members, whilst the Conservatives and UKIP opposed it:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Recognises the important contribution of the Welsh higher education sector in providing important opportunities to the people of Wales, and delivering significant economic benefits to communities across the nation.

2. Believes that a successful and vibrant higher education sector is essential for a prosperous Wales.

3. Believes that the Welsh Government should do all that is necessary to safeguard the future sustainability of the Welsh higher education sector.

 4. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to:

a) protect or replace existing EU funding and programmes for research and higher education;

b) secure the continued participation of Welsh universities in the Erasmus Plus scheme of staff and student exchange, and to support further international collaborations and movement of students, researchers, and staff;

 c) secure the visa and citizenship status of EU nationals working in Welsh universities;

d) enable Welsh universities to participate in a post-study work visa scheme; and

e) remove international students from UK net migration targets.

New for 2017 – Unis Wales Update

Unis Wales welcomed Plaid Cymru’s debate on higher education in Wednesday’s plenary session, prompting discussions that highlighted the importance of Welsh universities – their research and students – to Wales’ prosperity (see above). We also met the Vietnamese ambassador on his visit to Cardiff and we look forward to taking joint work forward on some of Vietnam’s key development objectives for HE.