Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 3 July 2015

Speech by Jo Johnson MP, UK Government Minister of State for Universities and Science.   

Jo Johnson MP attended UUK on Wednesday to give a speech to a small audience of VCs, Agency heads and journalists. The text of the speech, which focused on teaching excellence, can be found here:

Quality Assurance

HEFCW, alongside HEFCE, and the Northern Irish Executive issued a further round of consultation on the future of quality assurance this week.  A copy of the document is here and further information, including accompanying research reports can be found on the HEFCE website here.

The Universities Wales Director, alongside representatives from the sector, attended a funding councils’ seminar in Cardiff this week to discuss these proposals in more detail.  The response from the sector regarding changes to current arrangements remained cautious.  There was further concern that we could end up reintroducing an assessment and audit approach.  There will need to be extensive discussion within the Welsh sector over the summer to inform our response to these new proposals and Universities Wales staff will be in touch with your representatives shortly.

WHEB Board Update

The WHEB Board met this week.  Included on the agenda was the final agreement on the new structure of the Board which will now include core members and co-opted members. The Board also discussed the 2014-15 WHEB work programme and the draft work programme for next year, providing recommendations for actions.

Some of the highlights since the last board meeting in March included the Brussels launch of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus. A separate paper was tabled on the WHEB European Coordinating Groups outlining the activities of each of the four groups in Health, Advanced Manufacturing, Biosciences and Low Carbon which have focused on the 2016-17 Horizon2020 work programmes in advance of their publications on 13 October.

Student Loans Company

The Student Loans Company has launched the part-time grants application service.  The service is now live and all students studying part-time courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the 2015/16 academic year can now apply for a fee grant and course grant.  More information can be found here.

Apprenticeships in Wales

The Welsh Government has published the responses to the Consultation on “Aligning the apprenticeship model to the needs of the economy”. Responses to the consultation will be used to inform the development of an implementation plan for a new apprenticeship model for Wales.

A summary of the consultation responses is available on the Welsh Government website here.

British Universities’ International Liaison Association (BUILA) annual conference

Unis Wales will be attending the British Universities’ International Liaison Association (BUILA) annual conference at the University of Liverpool on Thursday 9th July.  BUILA is a UK-wide, membership-led organisation supporting the work and professional interests of staff working in international recruitment and liaison at UK universities. We will be delivering a presentation on Study in Wales during a breakout session on Thursday morning alongside Scottish colleagues and a representative of the London Universities International Partnership. UK HE International Unit and UUK colleagues are also speaking at the event.