WEA Cymru officially launched by Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates AM02-May-2014
Official Launch of WEA Cymru by Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates AM Glyndwr University, Wrexham
(More photos available on Flickr)
“Education, at whatever age, changes people's lives and allows them to take control over their destinies. It is a cost effective method for overcoming inequalities and promoting social mobility and inclusion. There has never been a more important time to invest in education, with high levels of unemployment and worrying levels of poverty in Wales. There is a strong negative correlation between low incomes and health and wellbeing and the UK is falling behind our European counterparts in adult education participation in learning. In the UK the participation rate is 20%, in other countries such as Sweden and New Zealand, it is 60%. A 40% gap is very significant. The WEA has a key role in combating this.”
This was the message from the Chief Executive Officer of WEA Cymru, Maggi Dawson MBE, at the official launch on 1st May.
The newly established Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) Cymru is a result of the merger between WEA South Wales and Coleg Harlech WEA North Wales in January 2014 to form the largest provider of adult community education in Wales.
The Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates AM, hosted the official launch of WEA Cymru, on Thursday 1st May 2014 at Glyndwr University, Wrexham. Professor Laura McAllister, Professor of Governance at Liverpool University, chair of the Sports Council of Wales and former WEA tutor was a key speaker at the event, endorsing the importance of adult learning and the unique approach of the WEA.
The Workers’ Educational Association in Wales, WEA Cymru, is a voluntary movement committed to the provision of educational opportunities for all adults, especially those outside traditional education provision. It provides access to education for adults from all backgrounds but with the focus particularly on those who have missed out on learning or who need a second chance. The WEA is a democratic association of people interested in their own learning and the learning needs of their own communities and workplaces and society as a whole.
Maggi states, “We provide adult learning to over 14,000 learners, on a part time basis in the community or through the workplace, in partnership with voluntary organisations, trades unions and employers. We mainly work with those 19+ though we also work with some schools and with young people not in education or employment.
We do not have a campus but work with community and specialist organisations to deliver learning in local settings and in venues most appropriate to our learners. By renting space from community groups and voluntary organisations, we actively support communities across Wales.”
Deputy Minister Ken Skates added:
“The merger of these two, long established and respected, institutions will create the biggest adult community learning organisation in Wales, helping many adults to access learning and training opportunities and fulfil their potential.
We believe in collaborative working, sharing expertise and resources and, where possible, achieving efficiencies. This merger represents a clear commitment to learning, providing us with a sound foundation for the future of adult community learning in Wales. I wish the Workers’ Educational Association Cymru every success for the future.”
The WEA has been delivering adult community learning and workplace learning in Wales since 1907.
Chair of the Board of Governors of WEA Cymru, Rob Humphreys, (Director of The Open University in Wales) said:
“The creation of WEA Cymru will enable us to provide educational opportunities for adults right across Wales. By bringing the two organisations together – each with its own proud and distinctive history – we will have a wider curriculum, reaching more communities. Adult education played a vital role in the life of twentieth century Wales and now WEA Cymru will play a key role, ensuring that it punches its weight as part of the ‘educational family’ – as the Minister has put it – in the twenty-first century. It will enhance the knowledge and skills of individuals and equip them to play an active and democratic part in society locally, nationally and internationally.”