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Higher education in further education colleges

HEFCW encourages partnerships between the higher and further education sectors to enable higher education (HE) courses to be run at further education (FE) colleges.

The main benefits are:
  • FE colleges provide local access to higher education through their greater number and spread across Wales
  • increased opportunities for progression between further and higher education
  • FE colleges often attract people who otherwise would not contemplate higher education

Many of the courses focus on vocational study. After completing their first higher education course (eg HND, HNC or Foundation Degree) at a further education college, students often have the opportunity to study further at a higher education institution (HEI).

Foundation degrees

In its skills strategy, Skills that Work for Wales, the Welsh Government announced that it would develop and consult on a Foundation Degree policy. The Welsh Government’s strategy for higher education, For our Future, stated that Foundation Degrees would be important in tackling its two priorities of social justice and a buoyant economy, and invited HEFCW to develop them further.

Our policy on Foundation Degrees is set out in circular W10/29HE, which also announced the allocation of One Wales funding to develop, promote and deliver new part-time foundation degree provision.

Additional funding for Foundation Degrees is also provided by the Welsh Government through the Universities Heads of the Valleys Initiative (UHOVI) and through a convergence-funded all Wales Foundation Degree programme.

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