An MS has slammed the Welsh Government after Wrexham Glyndŵr University scrapped its undergraduate Youth and Community Work Programme.
Llyr Gruffydd, who represents North Wales in the Senedd, has said it’s “regrettable” that the higher education institution has withdrawn the scheme.
The Plaid Cymru politician, has said the withdrawal is a result of the Welsh Government “underfunding” the sector.
Mr Gruffydd co-submitted a Statement of Opinion to the Senedd on the matter, alongside Plaid Cymru’s Spokesperson for Social Justice and Social Services, Sioned Williams MS, during Youth Work Week. It was backed by 15 MSs.
It called on the Welsh Government to urge Wrexham Glyndŵr University to commit to providing a Youth and Community Work programme, and to encourage opportunities for young people.
When Sioned Williams MS challenged the Welsh Government’s Education Minister, on the matter in the Senedd, Jeremy Miles admitted that he hadn’t had “discussions” with Wrexham Glyndŵr University about it.
Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “During Youth Work Week it’s important that we recognise and applaud the contribution of those working in youth work services.
“Their work in providing opportunities for young people in Wales to fulfil their potential is vital for ensuring we have vibrant, thriving communities, now and in the future.
“But for young people to meet their potential we need to make sure we have the right kind of support and resources in place to enable them to do so.
“That is why it is regrettable that Wrexham Glyndŵr University has withdrawn its undergraduate Youth and Community Work Programme.
“What we’re seeing is the result of the Welsh Government underfunding the higher education sector.
“It means that now there is no route from level 3 Youth Work Support qualification to professional qualification in North and Mid-Wales.
“I call on the Welsh Government to do more to encourage opportunities for young people to help fulfil their potential and for Ministers to work with Wrexham Glyndŵr University to provide an undergraduate Youth and Community Work programme.
“Ministers need to step in to ensure that the university has the resources it needs to run the scheme.”
Sioned Williams MS told the Senedd: “There’s widespread concern about this in the sector; the MA, they say, is unsuitable for many of the potential undergraduate candidates who come up through work in their local communities.
“Graduates from Wrexham mostly go on to practice in the north of Wales, and training elsewhere runs the risk of them remaining in the south of Wales or even elsewhere in the UK, and then also, of course, unable to benefit from local Welsh-medium opportunities across the region.
“So, could you please outline what discussions you’ve had with Wrexham university regarding the withdrawal of this undergraduate programme, and what assessment has been made by the Government of how the withdrawal impacts the number of undergraduates who go on to practice professional youth and community work in north and mid Wales?”
In response the Welsh Government’s Education Minister said: “I have not myself had discussions in relation to the particular undergraduate course that she refers to in her question.
“Obviously, the provision of courses is a matter for universities as autonomous institutions themselves, but I will seek to find out more in relation to that particular course, and I’m very happy to write to the Member in light of that.”
The Statement of Opinion was also co-submitted with Jack Sargeant MS.