On Tuesday 19th March, iTEC/VTCT held a Conference for Wales, at Coleg y Cymoedd in Cardiff, with representatives from FE colleges and private training providers from across the region in attendance.
The conference opened with an introduction on the ‘Future of Technical and Vocational Education’ from Alan Woods OBE, Chief Executive of iTEC/VTCT. Alan provided eye-opening insight into the value of the hair and beauty industry in Wales, demographic changes within education and the forecasted skills demand post-Brexit.
The key focus of the conference was the importance of promoting the Welsh language, in line with the Welsh Assembly’s aim to increase Welsh speakers to one million by 2050. One of the three strategies proposed to help deliver on this target was to integrate the Welsh language into work-based learning, which consequently supports the everyday use of Welsh on the job.
iTEC/VTCT have worked to support this target through the creation of bilingual qualifications delivered within Wales. iTEC/VTCT Assessment Manager, Lucy Strand, presented an overview of the Welsh Bilingual Qualifications Project, aptly delivered bilingually – with Lucy seamlessly alternating between Welsh and English.
Attendees learnt about the driving motivations behind the project and how it developed from centre needs. They also had the opportunity to see which iTEC/VTCT resources are currently available bilingually including consultations sheets, key phrases flashcards, and a Dictionary of key terms, and hear about the further resources under development.
Guest speaker Nicola Buttle, who is the Welsh Curriculum Manager at Cardiff and Vale College, then provided a deeper insight into the decline of the Welsh language, the importance of championing bilingual learning and the practical ways in which centres can integrate bilingual teaching and resources into courses. Attendees were able to view video case studies featuring students at Cardiff and Vale College who are benefiting from bilingual teaching and learning.
The conference was a great opportunity for centres to consider the benefits of bilingual further education and to be informed on best practices for delivering bilingual teaching and learning.
The conference reflects iTEC/VTCT’s ongoing commitment to supporting its Welsh centres and to aiding in the Welsh Assembly’s ultimate goal of increasing the number of Welsh speakers.
You can read more about iTEC/VTCT’s commitment to the Welsh language and see which qualifications will be available bilingually in September here.