USW signs alliance with further education colleges

Jonathan Morgan, Lisa Michelle Thomas, Dr Ben Calvert, Simon Pirotte, Guy Lacey, and Kay Martin MBE, at the re-signing of the strategic alliance

Jonathan Morgan, Lisa Michelle Thomas, Dr Ben Calvert, Simon Pirotte, Guy Lacey, and Kay Martin MBE, at the re-signing of the strategic alliance

The University of South Wales (USW) has re-signed its strategic alliance with five Further Education (FE) partner colleges in the South East Wales region.

The strategic alliance includes USW, Bridgend College, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent, Coleg y Cymoedd, and The College Merthyr Tydfil.

The alliance, which was originally signed more than nine years ago when USW was formed in 2013, is a vision and commitment from all partners to work together in the common endeavour to grow and create opportunities for learning, employment, and social inclusion.

The strategic alliance will produce a collaborative, agreed plan of work on key areas including academic, vocational, and regional priorities, skills, progression pathways, curricula development, industry engagement and applied research.

USW’s work with the alliance partner colleges is vital in providing a bridge for learners to access Higher Education, delivered in local settings, with flexible learning options, focusing on courses that are tailored to the local skills demand.

Current work with partner colleges includes broadening the routes to studying healthcare at USW, and in particular into new areas of provision (Operating Department Practitioner, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy from September 2022) to support the future of the NHS and healthcare providers.

USW’s Film and TV School Wales is also working with Screen Alliance Wales, Bad Wolf Studios, Dragon Studios and partner colleges to support a pipeline of talent into local jobs and supporting a growing ecosystem around film, television, games and the trades and professions that support those industries.

Dr Ben Calvert, Vice-Chancellor at USW, said: “Partnerships and engagement are at the heart of our USW 2030 strategy. We are committed to supporting a more diverse range of learners to achieve successful outcomes and graduate destinations, which is what the strategic alliance aims to achieve. We have a strong track record of making a difference to individuals, communities, employers, and local schools, working in partnership with our partner colleges, and we are delighted to recognise that formally with the re-signing of our strategic alliance as we work together to deliver equality of opportunity to lifelong learning.”   

Simon Pirotte OBE, Bridgend College Principal and CEO, said: “We are delighted to reaffirm our partnership with USW. Bridgend College looks forward to working in collaboration with USW and our partner FE colleges to further enhance the opportunities for the communities we serve.”

Jonathan Morgan, Coleg y Cymoedd Principal and CEO designate, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the strategic alliance with USW - the partnership has provided excellent opportunities for higher education progression for our learners.”

Guy Lacey, Coleg Gwent Principal and Chief Executive, said: “Coleg Gwent is delighted to be working closely with the University of South Wales in this strong partnership between Further and Higher education. Making education, skills, and training as accessible as possible is central to the work that we do together and brings huge benefits to our communities.”

Lisa Michelle Thomas, The College Merthyr Tydfil Principal and Chief Executive, said: “The college is delighted to be part of the Strategic Alliance. We already have an excellent partnership with the University of South Wales and the Strategic Alliance will provide the opportunity to further strengthen and build upon this partnership.

“Working together with the University and the other colleges across South-East Wales, the alliance will help pave the way for the development of jointly innovative and high-quality provision and pathways that will enhance participation and progression in further and higher education and support economic growth across the region.”

Kay Martin MBE, Group Principal at Cardiff and Vale College, said: “Our long-standing partnership with USW provides excellent opportunities for learners to engage with and progress in higher education.

“We are delighted to celebrate this today and continuing this collaboration to meet the needs of our communities.” 

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