Need to incentivise students to return to Wales after graduation also recognised
The Diamond Review’s recommendations should be accepted by the Welsh Government as a solid basis on which to develop skills and grow the Welsh economy, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Education Minister Llyr Gruffydd has said.
Llyr Gruffydd said that the recommendations would offer a more sustainable model of student finance, and said that the government’s willingness to accept the proposed change was an admission that the current settlement was unsustainable.
However, he warned the government not to cherry pick from the report’s recommendations, warning that it should be seen as a comprehensive and seamless package.
Llyr Gruffydd also said that it was crucial that the Welsh Government looks at ways to incentivise students to return to Wales to work after graduation or the whole system of student support risks failing to serve the needs of the Welsh economy.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Llyr Gruffydd said:
“Plaid Cymru has given the Diamond report a cautious welcome, and the Welsh Government should accept its recommendations as a solid starting point to develop skills and strengthen the Welsh economy.
“The government’s current model is unsustainable, and that’s why it’s important that Professor Diamond’s recommendations are accepted. This is a package in the round – it would not be appropriate for the government to cherry-pick it’s favourite parts.
“It is crucial that the Welsh Government takes Diamond up on its recommendation to incentivise students to stay in Wales or return to Wales after graduation. This was a central part of Plaid Cymru policy at the recent election, and unless this happens we risk a situation where the system of student support fails to properly serve the needs of the Welsh economy.
“Universities, colleges and apprenticeships are all equally valuable routes to employment. The challenge now for the Welsh Government is not only to close the funding gap with England but to ensure that funding across post-16 education reflects the parity of esteem between academic and vocational studies.”