South Wales Civic Engagement Partnership to build stronger links between education and community

Earlier this week, Bridgend College joined forces with other further and higher education partners to strengthen the relationship between education providers and the community.

Supported by the Education and Welsh Language Minister, Jeremy Miles MS, the newly-formed South Wales Civic Engagement Partnership (SWCEP) is a partnership between 10 educational institutions operating within Cardiff Capital Region.  

With the common goal of a shared Civic Mission Agenda, the strategic partnership will enhance links between the further education and higher education sectors, while delivering a more collaborative approach to civic engagement in the region – an approach that will respond to identified local and regional needs.

Alongside Bridgend College, the institutions in the partnership are the University of South Wales (USW), Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the Open University, Cardiff and Vale College, The College Merthyr Tydfil, Coleg Gwent, and Coleg y Cymoedd.

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: 

“Our colleges and universities have a critical role to play in supporting pathways out of poverty, working in partnership with people and communities, and offering a chance for individuals from diverse backgrounds to come together. I have been pleased to hear about the conversations the institutions have been having with community organisations about how they can help address inequalities in the region by working with them.

“The Commission for Tertiary Education and Research will drive a more strategic approach to civic engagement across all parts of post-16 education and training, encouraging institutions to reach beyond the campus and help promote the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of the communities they serve. This agreement between institutions provides a real opportunity to move this work forward in a very positive way.”

To solidify this shared commitment to Civic Mission in the region, during the launch at USW, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by representatives of each SWCEP partner including Joe Baldwin, Deputy Principal of Learner Journey, Systems and Inclusive Practice at Bridgend College. 

“The newly-formed South Wales Civic Engagement Partnership represents an important commitment, reaffirming the role we play as a college, as part of our community. We are committed to creating and facilitating opportunities for all people to learn new skills, acquire knowledge, develop their confidence and lead happy lives. We want to equip and connect people, enabling them to contribute in a society where they can thrive.”

Joe Baldwin, Deputy Principal of Learner Journey, Systems and Inclusive Practice

Jacob Ellis, Lead Change Maker for Public Affairs and International Relations at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, said: 

“The development of the South Wales Civic Engagement Partnership demonstrates recognition of the importance of the Higher Education and Further Education sectors working together to meet the challenges of the communities in the Cardiff Capital Region.

“Working in collaboration, through the lens of the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the partnership would be in a crucial and strategic place to listen to communities and rise to key challenges.”

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