Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology learns about innovative approach at CAVC

8 April 2015

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology learns about innovative approach at CAVC

Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology has visited Cardiff and Vale College to see how CAVC is forging a new direction in generating income.

The College’s Commercial Services team invited Julie James to see how CAVC’s new approach to income generation is helping to close the funding gap brought about by reductions in public sector spending.

The last 18 months has seen CAVC establish an entirely new Commercial Services team. It works across four key activity areas to grow the College’s business: Employer Partnerships; Research, Planning and Bids; International and Retail. CAVC sees these four areas as vital for generating new monies that can protect and project the College’s provision to learners, employers and communities across the Capital Region, Wales and beyond.

“The majority of the 2,000 employers that we work with are happy to invest or jointly fund training, as long as it supports their business strategy and offers them a clear return on investment,” CAVC Vice Principal for Commercial Business Development Mary Kent explained. “As a sector we need to accept that the training businesses want may be very different from what has been subsidised historically, and so we need to keep a firm focus on being led by employers’ demands.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said: "I was very interested to hear about the College’s innovative and dynamic approach to the challenges ahead."

“Further Education colleges are making plans for operating with a reduced budget for 2015/16 and we will work closely with colleges on the potential impacts.   

“We have been open with FE colleges in our discussions with them. It is now more important than ever that we focus not just on the resources that are available but how we use them and what we achieve.” 

As part of its growing international work CAVC is one of the first Further Education institutions in Wales to have established a permanent overseas base as one way of tapping into international markets. Its partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University and joint International Foundation Programme forms a permanent recruitment base in Beijing, and the first students are expected in September 2015.

The College has also found a new strand for potential generation of income in retail work. CAVC will be opening its new £45m City Centre Campus in September – a hub for employer skills as well as full-time learners and the wider community and just a five minute walk from Cardiff Central Train Station and in the heart of the Financial and Professional Services Enterprise Zone. The street level of the new campus will be open to the local community with a coffee shop, convenience store, and hair and beauty salon. These facilities will also offer work placement and experience opportunities to students as well as providing new ways to engage with the local community.

A Fifth Floor restaurant, conference facilities and training rooms will also be available to local employers for staff development, events and corporate hospitality.

“Cardiff and Vale College is already established as a lead within the Quality Skills Alliance for the delivery of Work Based Learning in this region,” Mary Kent said. “We have built on these employer and partner relationships, and invested heavily in our own infrastructure to be able to provide a service that is truly led by employer needs. Over the past year we will have significantly changed our proposition, and will be offering skills training which is more targeted towards our key employment sectors and available at much higher levels. We aim to be seen as a driving force for skills development in the region, and will need to work very closely with employers and partners to achieve this.”

“The development of new income streams for the College not only provides a whole new approach to meeting employer needs but also enables us to bridge the funding gap left by the reduction in public sector spending. This in turn is enabling us to protect provision and invest in facilities for our whole community.