August 2021 – July 2022
This year, the FE sector has come together to adapt, collaborate, and innovate as a result of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic while maintaining as much of the usual offer to learners, staff, communities, and businesses as possible. Here we look at some of the great work that ColegauCymru has done to support international exchange projects in the sector here in Wales.
We work with a varied network of international partners across the world on international exchange projects which enhance teaching and learning experiences across the sector. In the last six months, over 300 learners and 100 members of staff have been on an international visit, thanks to the Erasmus+ and Turing schemes.
The Erasmus+ scheme funds mobilities for both learners and staff – the experience and knowledge gained from these visits contributes to both personal and professional development. Erasmus+ funded mobilities resumed in early 2022 having been postponed due to the pandemic. 158 learners visited countries including Spain, Germany, Italy and France. In May, Coleg Gwent learners travelled to Tenerife where they not only developed their photography skills, but also had the chance to experience the culture of a different country.
Thanks to the UK Government funded Turing Scheme, 185 learner mobilities have taken place, to far flung locations including Cambodia, Canada and Thailand! As part of this, in May, Equine Studies learners from Coleg Sir Gâr visited Flyinge Kungsgård, one of Sweden’s three national equestrian centres, for two weeks and focused on developing excellence for the horse sector. March saw colleagues from Spanish FE college IES Abastos, which specialises in IT, web design and business qualifications, visit Bridgend College and Cardiff and Vale College. These opportunities provided insight into several areas including provision for Independent Living Skills, the IT curriculum, and digital literacy in Wales.
ColegauCymru staff, along with colleagues from FE colleges, Welsh Government and Estyn, attended a study visit to Germany where they explored digitalisation strategies for vocational education training (VET) and adult education. The visit, which took place in July 2022, provided an invaluable opportunity for colleagues from different countries to come together to engage in knowledge sharing. Building strong partnerships for mobilities is an essential part of the exchange process.
In late spring, ColegauCymru submitted funding bids for both the Turing and Taith schemes. Taith is the Welsh Government international learning exchange programme. 11 colleges made applications for learners and staff to travel to 30 different countries worldwide through the participation bid. Similarly, we submitted a consortium of learner applications through our member colleges to visit 15 different countries via the Turing scheme.
We have already seen colleges taking advantage of learner and staff mobility programmes in recent months to great effect. ColegauCymru is pleased to be working with our partners to see Wales investing in raising our country’s profile internationally and encouraging reciprocal partnerships to develop between educational institutions.
Sian Holleran, International and European Project Manager