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Future Directions for higher education in Wales

Cymraeg

Future Directions encompassed the quality enhancement work carried out in the Welsh HE sector, which aimed to enhance specific areas of the student learning experience through encouraging staff and students to share current good practice and to generate ideas and models for innovation in learning and teaching. The Future Directions work was planned and directed by the Future Directions steering group which was co-ordinated by the HEA.

Graduates For Our Future, 2010 - 2014

The Welsh Government published For Our Future: The 21st Century Higher Education Strategy and Plan for Wales in 2009. The document outlined twin priorities for higher education: delivering social justice; and supporting a buoyant economy. For the sector, this means prioritising the strategic themes of widening access, student experience, skills, knowledge transfer and research. Wales’ first quality enhancement theme was to address some of these. The HEA organised a sector event in 2010, which resulted in the theme Graduates For Our Future being identified. The theme had three workstrands:

  • Students as Partners
  • Learning in Employment
  • Learning for Employment.

The theme and workstrands were showcased at the Inaugural Future Directions Conference – Graduates For Our Future on 26 April 2012 at Glyndŵr University and then at the second Future Directions Learning and Teaching Conference, 2-3 April 2014 at Aberystwyth University, when the workstrands ended.

Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning, 2013 - 2015

Welsh Government polcy was further developed in the 2013 Policy Statement on Higher Education. In June 2013, the Future Directions steering group identified the second Future Directions enhancement theme for the Welsh higher education sector, Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning. This enhancement theme built on the successes of the previous enhancement theme, Graduates for our Future, and its workstrands. It started at the second Future Directions conference in 2014. The three workstrands within this new theme were:

  • Distinctive Graduates
  • Inspiring Teaching
  • Learner Journeys

There is further information available regarding the workstrands from 2014 and workstrands up to 2014 below.

Workstrands from 2014

Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning

In June 2013, the Future Directions steering group identified the second Future Directions enhancement theme for the Welsh higher education sector, Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning. The three workstrands within this new theme were:

  • Distinctive Graduates
  • Inspiring Teaching
  • Learner Journeys

The new enhancement theme built on the successes of the previous one, Graduates for our Future and its workstrands. Global Graduates: Enabling Flexible Learning and the three new workstrands were 'soft-launched' in autumn 2013 and ran concurrently with the previous theme, Graduates for our Future, until the Future Directions conference in spring 2014.

Distinctive Graduates

The Distinctive Graduates group consisted of representatives from institutions and key sector agencies in Wales. It was led by Lloyd Williams, of the University of South Wales. It aimed to identify and understand the set of skills and attributes developed by students in Wales. A global mind set, cultural agility and advanced communication or language skills were initially identified as features that are likely to lead to graduates performing successfully on an international stage. The group explored how HE institutions in Wales provide a mode and delivery of learning and work related experience that is likely to influence the evolution of these attributes. The workstrand explored specific elements of the student experience in Wales that shape the ability of graduates to perform successfully in the international labour market.

Inspiring Teaching 

The Inspiring Teaching group consisted of representatives from institutions and key sector agencies in Wales. It was led by Graham Lewis, of Aberystwyth University. It aimed to explore how Welsh HE providers both inspire teaching development and value examples of inspired teaching. It is about how we create an environment which encourages enquiry into teaching practice and celebrates innovation. It is about how we ensure that the support we give to teachers in HE, takes account of the environment in which academics work and is fit for purpose.The Inspiring Teaching strand aimed to continue to share and celebrate existing good practice and explore how we can work, across Wales, to further enhance the quality of HE teaching and the student experience.

Learner Journeys

The Learner Journey group consisted of representatives from institutions and key sector agencies in Wales. It was led by Jo Smedley, of the University of South Wales.It offered a window on the provision of learning in various non-traditional modes. It provided a cross-Wales response to the Welsh Government’s Policy Statement for Higher Education in early June 2013 identifying the need to develop “more flexible models of provision” within its set of priorities up to 2020. Learner journeys are many and varied ranging from traditional, full time experiences to more bite-sized learning experiences which involve stepping on and off learning, learning portability and learning which occurs at various paces and places. Curriculum design and assessment are important elements in ensuring that the learner experience is consistently of a high quality, irrespective of the path of engagement.

Workstrands up to 2014

Graduates For Our Future

The Welsh Government published For Our Future: The 21st Century Higher Education Strategy and Plan for Wales in 2009. The document outlines twin priorities for higher education: delivering social justice; and supporting a buoyant economy. For the sector, this means prioritising the strategic themes of widening access, student experience, skills, knowledge transfer and research. Wales’ first quality enhancement theme was born to address some of these. The HEA organised a sector event in 2010, which resulted in the theme – Graduates For Our Future – being identified, with three workstrands:

  1. Students as Partners
  2. Learning in Employment
  3. Learning for Employment.

The theme and workstrands were showcased at the Inaugural Future Directions Conference – Graduates For Our Future on 26 April 2012 at Glyndŵr University, and again at the Aberystwyth conference in 2014, after which Future Directions had a new theme and three new workstrands.

The Learning for Employment workstrand

The group consisted of representatives from all institutions and key sector agencies in Wales, led by Dr Colleen Connor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. The notion of employability adopted by the group conforms with a widely accepted definition (Yorke 2006) which states that graduate employability is the achievement of ‘the skills, understandings and personal attributes that make an individual more likely to secure employment and be successful in their chosen occupation’. In 2011/12, the Learning for Employment group gathered a wide range of case studies from across Wales to share current best practice. The publication is available in both English and Welsh.

    Learning for employment
    26/02/2012
    Learning for employment View Document
    Learning for employment - Welsh version
    26/02/2012
    Learning for employment - Welsh version View Document

    Work continued in 2012/13 and the document below distills the essential learning that colleagues throughout the HE sector in Wales have identified. The publication is available in both English and Welsh.

     

      Learning for employment: Lessons Learnt
      26/04/2013
      Learning for employment: Lessons Learnt View Document
      Learning for employment: Lessons Learnt - Welsh version
      26/04/2013
      Learning for employment: Lessons Learnt - Welsh version View Document

      The Learning in Employment workstrand

      The Learning in Employment workstrand group consisted of representatives from all institutions and key sector agencies in Wales. The workstrand was led by Dr Karen Fitzgibbon of the University of South Wales. From 2013/14, the Learning in Employment workstrand has become a part of the new Learner Journeys workstrand.

      For the purposes of this work, the group defines learning in employment as ‘The accreditation of part of all of a student’s learning programme through formal recognition of experience in the workplace’. The group is exploring a range of approaches to learning in employment, sharing best practice, and developing ideas for future development of learning in employment across the sector.

      In 2011/12, the Learning in Employment group gathered a wide range of case studies from across Wales to share current best practice. The publication is available in both English and Welsh.

      Learning in Employment
      20/04/2012
      Learning in Employment View Document
      Learning in Employment - Welsh version
      20/04/2012
      Learning in Employment - Welsh version View Document

      In 2012/13, the work continued and below is a document that captures the essential learning that colleagues throughout the HE sector in Wales have identified. The publication is available in both English and Welsh.

      Learning in Employment: Lessons learnt
      26/02/2020
      Learning in Employment: Lessons learnt View Document
      Learning in Employment: Lessons learnt - Welsh version
      26/04/2013
      Learning in Employment: Lessons learnt - Welsh version View Document

      Future Directions for Skills and Employability

      Future Directions for Skills and Employability was a joint event held on the 15 May by the Higher Education Academy, the Quality Assurance Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The event focused on real world approaches to skills and employability development and how best to measure the impact and success of such initiatives.

      The Students as Partners workstrand

      The Students as Partners work strand group consisted of representatives from all institutions and students’ unions in Wales, as well as key sector agencies. The workstrand was led by Sarah Ingram of Cardiff University. The group explored different perspectives of students as partners, sharing best practice, and discussing models of innovation for future development. In 2011/12, the Students as Partners group gathered a wide range of case studies from across Wales to share current best practice. The publication is available in both English and Welsh:

        Students as Partners - Future Directions
        26/02/2012
        Students as Partners - Future Directions View Document
        Students as Partners - Future Directions - Welsh versions
        26/02/2012
        Students as Partners - Future Directions - Welsh versions View Document

        In 2012/13, the Students as Partners group drove forward with activity across Wales, below is an evaluative document that draws together lessons learnt and knowledge gained from the workstrand. The publication is available in both English and Welsh:

        Students as Partners - Future Directions: Lessons learnt
        26/04/2013
        Students as Partners - Future Directions: Lessons learnt View Document
        Students as Partners - Future Directions: Lessons learnt - Welsh version
        26/04/2013
        Students as Partners - Future Directions: Lessons learnt - Welsh version View Document