Wales’s First Minister Carwyn Jones AM visited the Deeside 6th Form Centre at Coleg Cambria last week to deliver a keynote speech about Further Education Colleges in Wales.

The speech entitled ‘Towards greatness – colleges working for Wales’ recognised the commitment and hard-work of FE colleges in recent years to improve the quality and relevance of their learning and skills offer.

The Mostyn Theatre at the Deeside 6th was filled to capacity with leaders from across the Further Education sector in Wales as well as college staff, students and business leaders from North Wales. The First Minister also took the opportunity to meet and have lunch with a number of Cambria students during the visit.

The First Minister said:

“Over the last six or seven years Welsh Further Education has been through its own period of enormous change. Reforms to the structure, governance and finances of colleges have transformed not just this college we are in today, but the entire sector. Though the road has not always been smooth, and there is still more to do, Welsh Further Education is now fitter and stronger that it was decade ago.

“We have seen investments in colleges across Wales including new higher education and sixth form centres here at Coleg Cambria and a commitment to specialist engineering facilities at Llangefni.
Successes include very high levels of learner completion and success on apprenticeships and vocational courses in Wales. 86% against a published figure of 56% in England as well as excellent ratings in Estyn inspections of college and work-based learning provision across Wales.

He focussed on how colleges should build on these strong foundations to construct even more effective partnerships with employers, work-based learning providers, local authorities and others in the future.

“Education is about who we are as a society, as a community and as a nation. And the partnership between Welsh FE, the Welsh Government and its partners is a central part of this national mission. To change lives. To build a better future. A national mission to invest in the future of our people, our country, our communities and our economy.”

David Jones OBE , CEO at Coleg Cambria added:

“We were delighted to host this prestigious event on behalf of the First Minister.

“It was really pleasing that the Further Education sector was not only congratulated for its successes in recent years but also challenged to keep striving for greatness and make a difference for learners, the economy and communities that we serve.”

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