Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 15 September 2017

Welsh Government PCET Reform Learner Voice Events

The Welsh Government is currently consulting on how the post compulsory sector in Wales is regulated and governed.  They are proposing to create a new body (the Tertiary Education and Research Council) which will cover everything from higher education, further education, work-based learning providers and ACL.  During this consultation it is important that the voice of learners is heard – and especially the voices of learners in adult and community learning.  As we know they are often the learners who face the most significant barriers and challenges and whose voice is often not heard.

The Welsh Government want to hear from learners in adult and community learning and are organising two learner voice events:

Further details of the events are attached and learners can sign up by emailing:


Chief Executive-designate appointed to lead new HE sector agency

Alison Johns has been appointed the Chief Executive-designate for a new higher education (HE) sector agency. The new agency will be formed in 2018 from a merger of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE).

The Chief Executive-designate will lead work with the Shadow Board of the new sector agency on building the strategy and business model of the new agency. Alison Johns has a 25 year track record of achievement in the HE sector in areas relating to leadership, learning and teaching, and equalities. She is the current Chief Executive of the LFHE.

Nigel Carrington, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Arts London and Chair of the Shadow Board creating the new agency, commented:

“Despite strong competition for this designate role we are convinced that Alison Johns is the right person to forge the future of the new agency. Alison demonstrated an exceptional level of enthusiasm, forethought and capability for the role. I am sure that under her leadership, planning for the new agency will be in the most capable hands.”

Alison Johns said on her appointment: “I’m delighted to be asked to take up this critical role to plan, develop and deliver the new agency to support higher education. I am totally committed to work closely with colleagues across the sector and the agencies in the coming weeks and months to listen and learn about their views on how we can take advantage of the opportunities ahead and how we can build on our strengths to create a compelling vision and business model for the future.”

Alison Johns continued: “I’m passionate about all aspects the three agencies’ current work and have had longstanding engagement with and commitment to equality and diversity, learning and teaching and leadership and governance during my career in HE. I look forward to building on the successful programmes and services each agency offers and helping the sector rise to the challenges ahead and maintain their world class reputation for higher education.”

National Assembly Budget 2018-19

Please see the Universities Wales response to National Assembly for Wales’ call for information on the budget 2018-19. Universities Wales response to call for information budget 2018-19

EAIE 2017

Our International Policy Advisor, Emma Raczka has spent the week in Seville, representing Welsh Universities and the Global Wales programme at the conference for the European Association of International Education.

Qatar Airways announces launch of direct daily flights to Cardiff

For any colleagues doing business in the middle East, Cardiff Airport is now offering a direct service to Doha – further information is available here.

The daily service between Hamad International Airport and Cardiff Airport will make its inaugural flight on 1st May 2018.  This is the first regular direct long-haul flight linking Wales and south west England to a major global hub in the Gulf region seven days a week. The route will take around 5.5 hours.

Political Update

  • This week Sir Mansel Aylward was announced as the new Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales. Skills and Science Minister Julie James is pleased to confirm that Professor Sir Mansel Aylward has been appointed as the new Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales Limited.
  • Aspiring engineers have been given a chance to witness what life is like working for one of the most prestigious companies in motorsport – Aston Martin.
  • World’s first semiconductor cluster comes to Wales thanks to Welsh Government. Tech giant IQE will extend its world-renowned semiconductor design and manufacturing operation in Newport thanks to a Welsh Government facilitated, special purpose building in South East Wales.
  • The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee will be holding a private stakeholder event on The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on Monday, 18 September 2017.
  • Another meeting of relevance being the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee which will be discussing City Deals; Apprenticeships; Selling Wales to the World.