Today Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister, has announced that Further Education colleges in Wales will receive an additional £23m in the coming year.
£6m of this funding will give college staff a 2.75% pay rise to ensure they receive the same funding as school teachers.
£2m of the funding will allow colleges to improve their mental health and wellbeing support for students and staff alike.
£10m will continue the Skills Development Fund to help colleges address skills gaps within their local workforces, whilst £5m will allow colleges to invest in their staff’s professional development.
Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary, commented:
“Our further education colleges play a vital role in post-16 education in towns and cities all over Wales, as well as the wide range of services and employment opportunities they provide to local communities.
“Ensuring students of all ages can access mental health support is one of my priorities and I’m pleased we’re providing additional funding for colleges to develop their front-line support services.
“It’s also been an important principle for me that Further Education staff receive parity of pay with school teachers, so I’m delighted that this year’s pay increase has been agreed.”
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added:
“Today’s announcement shows the difference Welsh Liberal Democrats are making in government. This funding will support students to achieve their full potential and help staff to provide the best possible education for our young people.
“We’re committed to giving every child the best possible start in life, so they can go into the world with the skills and experience they need to reach for the stars. By investing in their education, that’s exactly what we're doing."