WEA Cymru & YMCA Wales In Discussions31-October-2014
As part of the Transformation agenda of Welsh Government aimed at reducing the number of colleges and educational institutions through mergers and collaborative working, YMCA Wales Community College and WEA Cymru are in discussions with the aim of creating a new, stronger body serving the whole of Wales.The new organisation would be better able to respond to local and regional learning requirements while aligning with national policy to promote personal aspirations, active citizenship and workforce development.
The objectives for a new all Wales body include:
•To provide additional services for learners across Wales and to improve and widen opportunities for learning;
•To ensure the maintenance, further development and co-ordination of the curriculum offer across Wales;
•To maintain the important national identities of both organisations with local and regional accountabilities;
•To maintain and develop the range of bilingual provision across Wales;
•To ensure a suitable and affordable staffing and management structure across the whole organisation, with staff being treated equitably;
•To develop the provision infrastructure;
•To develop greater involvement with specialist partner organisations such as the new Community Rehabilitation Company, Play Wales, Community Development Cymru, CWVYS, Housing Associations, Sports and Arts Associations, Job Centre Plus and WCVA;
•To respond to national, regional and sub-regional developments;
•To ensure long term viability of the new entity.
YMCA Wales Community College and WEA Cymru have applied to the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES) for funding to progress a potential merger by July 2015.Funding would support three phases of the project:
a) to develop a Business Case for the strategic options which could be made available to YMCA Wales Community College and WEA Cymru as they consider building closer links to create a new body and which may lead to an institutional merger;
b) to undertake due diligence on both parties;
c) to progress the preferred option arising from the business case and to gain
approval from DfES and the Minister to the final option.
A Partnership Steering Group has been established to take forward the project, which includes representatives from the governing bodies of both organisations, the two chief executives and a member of DfES in an advisory capacity. An independent
chair has been appointed, who is John Graystone, formerly the CEO of Colleges Wales / Colegau Cymru.
A Feasibility Study and Business Case is soon to be completed to enable the development of a new collaborative model or a merger by July 2015. Capita has been appointed to undertake this. Capital Law has been appointed to undertake the legal due diligence and to advise on future governance arrangements if there were to be a new body. Regular meetings are being held between the senior teams of both organisations and collaborative work has commenced.
Maggi Dawson, CEO WEA Cymru
Mark Isherwood, Head of College, YMCA Wales Community College