Providing people with education and the opportunity to develop the right set of skills for their future is widely accepted as a significant determinant of life outcomes including health, socio-economic position and life expectancy.
The world is changing quickly. These changes are having profound implications to the future of work, community and well-being. We need to react positively to these changes to ensure people have the right skills for our future Wales.
Like many countries, Wales faces challenges. From the climate and nature emergency, to growing our culture and language, to tackling poverty and inequality, to the impact of technology and population change. Education and qualifications are crucial for different jobs in the future and important in promoting well-being in the here and now.
A new national Curriculum for Wales provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to place well-being at the heart of schools and learning. A new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research is an opportunity to help the people of Wales keep learning through life.
There are opportunities for Wales to be at the forefront of emerging economies like the digital economy and the low carbon, ‘green’ economies of the future. All sectors will need to recognise the different skill sets needed to meet our targets to reduce carbon and tackle the climate emergency. There are opportunities in a ‘green’ and circular economy, with renewable energy, less waste and more responsible businesses. But we must act now to create the right skills pathways for the people of Wales to take advantage of this.
Our work in this area:
I have been working with many people across sectors to influence how the new curriculum is properly resourced and implemented effectively and encourage a new curriculum for post-16 learning.
I am calling for a national mission for education fit for the future. What this means is bringing business, the education sector, civic society and others together to deliver skills in a co-ordinated way. There is a current mismatch between what people learn, what employers need and what the future of Wales and the world will need. This national mission should be funded through the creation of a Welsh Education Tax, directed towards the transition to the new Curriculum for Wales and provision for lifelong learning.
In the context of recovery from the economic recession, I am working with Government and other key contacts to ensure a green and just recovery – skills for the future of Wales is central to this.
Below are the areas I recommend that all public bodies, including Welsh Government, should focus on:
- A national mission for delivering education and lifelong learning. What I mean by this is better join up between education, business, civil society and the people of Wales. Only by doing this will people gain the right skills for a life well-lived.
- Skills must be seen as a driver of wider well-being.
- Plan and prepare for how technological breakthroughs will change the way we live and work.
- Champion the increasing demand for ‘softer skills.’
- Re-think qualifications to reflect skills for the future.
- Embrace lifelong learning as the new norm.
- Ensure that our education and skills system is flexible to demographic change and works for everyone.
- Take advantage of new environmental industries in Wales.
For my full evidence, assessment, key findings and advice please see the section on Skills on our designated website for the Future Generations Report