Universities key to helping Wales bounce back from Covid pandemic, research shows
Wales’ universities will be key to helping Wales bounce back following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research.
The report Universities and the UK’s economic recovery by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education estimates that Welsh universities will be part of regeneration projects worth £536 million to the Welsh economy.
They will also deliver 4,000 years’ worth of upskilling and training to businesses and charities, help 1,300 new businesses and charities to be formed and train 10,000 nurses, 4,000 medics, 8,000 teachers, the report says.
Ian Price, Director of CBI Wales, said partnerships between businesses and universities were essential in order to create an inclusive, green and innovative economy.
“The relationship between business and universities has never been more important than it is today,” he said.
“By 2030 we must reskill nine in ten workers, transition tens of thousands of workers to new occupations, eradicate the digital skills gap, adapt to automation, and harness the power of AI and 6G.
“None of these aims are achievable without dynamic and productive relationships between businesses and universities right across Wales.”
David Blaney, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, said that higher education sector was part of Wales’ national infrastructure, and universities had already shown that they were essential in “meeting the economic and social challenges we face in building a post-Covid-19 nation”.
“Our universities stepped up to the challenges they faced last year, demonstrating their value as part of communities, or using their research and innovation to help us to meet current and future challenges,” he said.
“Higher education institutions also moved quickly to continue supporting students and graduates, which is arguably more important than ever as they compete to find work and contribute to economic regeneration after graduating.”
There are eight universities across Wales: Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Swansea University, the University of South Wales, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Wrexham Glyndŵr University.
The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has previously said that the higher education sector was facing a deficit for 2021 of about £50m as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
There had been a reduction in the number of international students leading to a net reduction in income in 2021. Universities had also borne the cost of £20m in accommodation rebates due to fewer students living in halls.