Here’s an insight into the exciting international visits currently taking place by learners and staff in the Further Education sector in Wales – the first blog of many we hope!

First of all though – what is Further Education or FE?

FE colleges work with a diverse group of learners from 16 year old school leavers to adult learners in their 90s!  There’s loads on offer at an FE college – here are some examples:

  • Learn a skill or trade
  • Study a vocational subject like Hair & Beauty, Engineering, Animal Care
  • Take A levels in a wide range of subjects
  • Study as part of an apprenticeship programme
  • Take adult learning courses in basic English, maths and other entry level courses

On top of all of this, FE learners can spend some time overseas as part of their course.  They can attend training programmes, volunteer or do work placements anywhere in the world from 5 days to a whole year!  A bit scary?!  Well, for visits up to two weeks, the learners will also be accompanied on the visit by staff from the college.

And, the best bit?  The majority of these visits are funded by recognised government programmes like Taith (Welsh Government)  and The Turing Scheme (UK Government)  ColegauCymru leads on pan Wales consortium applications for funding from both programmes on behalf of the sector. Colleges can also apply for their own funding.

Some of the learner visits that have been organised in the last 12 months through ColegauCymru’s consortium projects include:

Coleg Gwent Photography A level to Tenerife

Coleg Ceredigion Health & Social Care to Canada

Coleg Sir Gâr A level to Thailand

Cardiff and Vale College Football Academy (male and female) to Benfica, Portugal

There’s no need to be a fluent speaker of Spanish, Portuguese or any other language to take part in these visits.  However, as part of the selection process, learners need to demonstrate their commitment to learning some of the language and exploring the culture and traditions of the countries they’re visiting before they leave.  These are excellent opportunities for broadening horizons, building confidence and raising aspirations. So many times in evaluations we’ve heard ‘these were the best two weeks of my life!’

And for FE staff, there are some innovative visits taking place right now to Japan, Dubai, Spain, Thailand, Mexico and the US – global CPD opportunities that will lead to the enrichment and enhancement of the learning experience for FE learners.

Have a quick look at this video showing what was achieved working with Nexgen Careers, WJEC and colleges across Wales to internationalise our delivery of the new Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales qualification.

This is Blog 1 from the FE sector – there’ll be more where you can hear from learners, staff and our international partners about these exciting visits!