Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 9 March 2018

Universities in Wales celebrate International Women’s Day  

To celebrate International Women’s day, recognise the historic and current achievements and work of women in our sector, and in recognition of the importance of our shared responsibility to work to improve women’s rights, we wanted to share some of the activities taking place in campuses across Wales to celebrate #IWD2018 .
Universities hosted debates, dinners and discussions, with campuses across Wales engaging in activities to champion women’s rights, and to celebrate the contribution of women to Welsh higher education.
See yesterday’s mailout for a full round-up of all the day’s activities.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation launches new report on poverty in Wales


On Wednesday we attended the launch of Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s latest report on poverty in Wales 2018, and participated in an informative discussion on the findings of the report and their implications.

We highlighted the role of universities in tackling poverty, including the challenges posed by the changing nature of employment through automation and our civic mission as being central to furthering aspiration and access to education in communities.



Innovation Fund available for Adult Learners’ Week 2018

Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest annual learning festival. It aims to raise awareness of the value of adult learning, celebrate the achievements of learners and providers and inspire more people to discover how learning can positively change their lives.

If you are involved in providing adult learning and skills, whether it’s formal or non-formal we’d love to hear about your plans for Adult Learners’ Week this year. It’s a great opportunity to promote what you do, launch a piece of research, test new provision or bang the drum for Adult Learning.

The Innovation Fund for 2018 is available to organisations working in Wales who wish to deliver outreach activities or events during Adult Learners’ Week and throughout the month of June.

We welcome applications from any group, organisation or partnership.

Deadline for submitting applications: Friday 23rd March.

Please visit our website for more information.


Inspire! Awards 2018 Call for Nominations

Nominations are invited for the 2018 Inspire! Adult Learning Awards. We are looking for individuals, community projects and workplace partnerships.  The closing date for submitting your nomination is 16 March 2018 and the awards will be presented on the 6th June ahead of Adult Learners’ Week.

This year’s award categories:

Into Work                                           
Young Adult
Life Change and Progression
Health and Wellbeing
Ageing Well
Starting Out – Welsh Beginner
Different Past: Shared Futures
Community Project
Closing the Gap
Skills at Work

For more information please visit our website where you’ll find a copy of our nomination form, further guidance notes and helpful guide on ‘how to write a successful nomination’.



National Apprenticeship Week

Policy Adviser for skills, schools, and apprenticeships at Universities Wales Kieran Rees writes for the IWA on the benefits of degree apprenticeships in Wales and their role in meeting Wales’ future skills needs

“National Apprenticeship Week is the right time to not only celebrate the fantastic opportunities that apprenticeships continue to offer people in Wales, but also to look at how new developments such as degree apprenticeships can meet the needs of individuals, employers and Wales”

There will also be a Semta consultation event on the engineering degree apprenticeship framework, taking place 

27th March 2018 (09.00 – 12.00)  at Coleg Sir Gar


Political update

  • First Minister Carwyn Jones was asked the following question during Tuesday’s Plenary:

-Mike Hedges (Swansea East): Will the First Minister make a statement on the role of universities in Wales as economic drivers? (Question 5; 14:06)
- First Minister: Through their teaching and research activities, Welsh universities are contributing to the wider prosperity and well-being of Wales, raising the country’s profile internationally and attracting investment. And, of course, they have an important role to play in delivering our economic action plan.

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education was asked the following questions during Wednesday’s Plenary:

-David Melding (South Wales Central): What is the Welsh Government doing to attract overseas students to Welsh universities? (Question 2; 13:31)
-Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Do you support the UCU action against pension cuts? (Questions without notice; 13:39)
-Mark Isherwood (North Wales): What support does the Cabinet Secretary provide to people with additional learning needs who want to study the Welsh baccalaureate? (Question 9; 14:09)
-Mick Antoniw (Ponypridd): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had in relation to the current industrial action in the university sector in Wales? (Question 10; 14:11)

  • Speaking on International Women’s Day, the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, has said that more needs to be done to encourage women and girls to study Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. Earlier in the week the Leader of the House, Julie James, spoke during Plenary about the work taking place to encourage girls to study STEM subjects and challenge gender stereotypes.


  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning approved funding to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol for 2018-2019.


  • First Minister Carwyn Jones has issued a written statement summarising his recent trip to North America, where he conducted various HE-related engagements, including a visit to McGill University “where I met the Associate Provost of the University to discuss the strengthening of educational links with Welsh institutions”.

The Conversation showcase.

Articles published by academics at Welsh universities this week. 

The UK can’t truly celebrate International Women’s Day until women are equal with each other (Swansea)

Philip K Dick’s androids looked like humans – but real world robots may soon feel empathy, too (Cardiff – links to 50th anniversary of book publication [March 1968])

Women need more freedom during labour, not a medicalised birth script to follow (Swansea)

Hunting, trafficking, palm oil: who really kills orangutans? (Cardiff – published in French but Google Chrome does an ok job of translating)

We’re seeing plenty of Welsh locations in BBC dramas – one day they may be shows about Wales (Cardiff Met)

Thousands of starfish have washed up dead after the ‘Beast from the East’ – here’s why (Bangor)