Virtual skills centre

Dr John Harries speaking at the launch of the Aber-Bangor Skills Centre.

Dr John Harries speaking at the launch of the Aber-Bangor Skills Centre.

08 October 2009

An exciting new ‘virtual' skills centre between Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities was launched by Deputy Minister for Skills, John Griffiths AM on Thursday 8 October.

The Aber-Bangor Skills Centre aims to address the higher-level skills gap in rural Wales and strengthen links between the two universities, business communities in Mid and North Wales, and the Sector Skills Councils. The initiative has received £400,000 funding from HEFCW over a two year period.

The launch event was attended by representatives throughout the region from the public sector, academia and business.

Deputy Minister for Skills said: “Higher Education is vital to our One Wales vision of a strong and enterprising economy with high-quality sustainable jobs.

“The establishment of the Aber-Bangor Skills Centre is exactly within the spirit of our goal.  The specific objective to address the higher level skills gaps in Mid and North Wales by providing a one stop shop for private and public sector employers, and for individuals seeking assistance in addressing their skills needs.

“This ‘friendly front door' will open up what is sometimes described as the best kept secret of higher education.  That is, that universities are not just concerned with the provision of education to the traditional 18-year-old full-time undergraduate, but are also major players in providing training courses for employers and individuals requiring upskilling.

“The Welsh Assembly Government’s priority in our £2 billion budget for 2010/11 that we announced this week is to help young people who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn.

“We have made an additional £20.5million of funding available including £13million to extend the Pathways to Apprenticeships scheme and the Skillbuild programme for people with entry-level skills.  The remaining £6.7million has been made available for the Young Person’s Guarantee, including the Future Jobs Fund which is primarily aimed at 18-24-year-olds who have been out of work for nearly a year.

“All of these measures and the strategic vision that we have for higher and further education will ensure that the in spite of the challenging economic climate, the next generation will be education, skilled and trained to reach their full potential in the workplace.”

Dr John Harries, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “The establishment of the Aber-Bangor Skills Centre is a timely development in addressing the skills needs of private and public sector organisations in Mid and North Wales. Aberystwyth University is very pleased that the Skills Centre builds on the well established foundations of our partnership with Bangor University. The Centre will provide an excellent opportunity to link employers to the wide range of expertise that resides within our university departments. It will help establish a common understanding of skills needs and the development of training programmes which will enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of enterprises within the region.”