The Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto recognised that economic growth depends on growing the skill base of the population, and proposed better links between education and industry.
The Progressive Agreement contained a commitment that the Welsh Government would be:
“Prioritising support for enhanced links between education and industry, enabling innovation and entrepreneurship across our public and private sectors in collaboration with our universities and colleges.”
In June 2017, following the Hazelkorn Report, Kirsty Williams launched a consultation moving forward with a proposal to develop better links between higher and further education and Welsh business. The reforms will also adapt the Welsh research and innovation landscape to be more responsive to the needs of the economy, industry, health and well-being.
The Welsh Government has also launched ‘Be The Spark’, a Wales-wide movement aimed at unlocking the potential for greater collaboration between entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, risk capital, academia and government to support the creation of more home grown profitable businesses.
Kirsty Williams also submitted an in-year remit letter to HEFCW providing additional funding for the university sector linked to accelerator and incubator spaces and high-level apprenticeships.