The huge economic impact of Cardiff and Vale College on the Cardiff Capital Region

Its chief executive Mike James said the college had a strong record of collaboration with employers.

Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) has a near £550m economic impact on the Cardiff Capital Region, according to new independent research.

The future education college, which works closely with thousands of employers across the region, is continuing to expand with latest plans for two new campus projects in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Speaking at a meeting of Cardiff Breakfast Club, its chief executive Mike James, said the college was “trying to create a skills machine and not a qualifications machine,” which “had to be about outputs and not inputs.”

On the research carried out by Esmi – based on the academic year 2017-18 – Mr James said: “The whole basis for CAVC Group is impact now and for the future.

“And the research from Esmi on our economic impact shows we are contributing almost half a billion pounds [£445.9m] to the economy of the Cardiff Capital Region and more than £1bn to UK society.

“For context, our impact is the equivalent of us providing 19,000 average wage jobs in the region. Whilst our total learner cohort in 2017/18 will, as a result of their higher earnings and social savings, contribute £1.4bn to society over the course of their lives.”

The overall impact is based on staff and group spending, the expenditure impact of learners and the added workforce skills impact.

Mr James said over the last eight years the college, which in 2017-18 had 14,084 learners and 13,387 apprentices, had collaborated closely with firms across a wider range a sectors.

The chief executive said: “We’ve been on a significant journey and now CAVC looks a great deal different to our starting point back in 2011.

“We have doubled in size – with a group income of £98m we are now the largest college in Wales and in the top five in the UK.

“We are also the biggest provider of apprenticeships in Wales and have developed hugely successful apprenticeship programmes in new sectors with global companies such as Deloitte.

“We are working with thousands of businesses, from global companies to SMEs, to help them plan for their future. The focus is not on churning qualifications, but developing meaningful skills in every interaction.”

Mr James said its income streams has diversified and grown – making the college more financially resilient.

The chief executive said: “In 2011, around 70% of our income was our core FE grant from Welsh Government. Today it is just 34% of our total income.

“We have grown organically – including through retail, international work and employer training.

“This growth has been done by working with like-minded people to find a way forward.

“So, collaboration has been the golden bullet… and talking honestly with people and not being tribal in your stance.”

He said that education and skills cannot be erased once acquired.

He added: I’ve often thought education should sit with natural resources. That Wales be recognised as an ambitious country with a resource of highly skilled people – natural resource that if we invest in, will never run out.

“It is one we can export and at CAVC we are doing this successfully in China. And we know it attracts inward investment to Wales. So it is something we should be evangelical about it.

“It is also key to business growth and day in day out we are supporting big global business, quasi public sector organisations, SMEs and entrepreneurs to develop knowledge, flexibility, profitability, and a pipeline of skilled and employable talent.

“This is all about supporting a prosperous future economy for the capital region of Wales.

“We have also developed fantastic partnerships,including with schools, education directors, councils, public bodies, universities, regional skills partnerships, industry and Welsh Government.”

As a not-for-profit organisation, Cardiff Breakfast Club has awarded a £1,000 bursary to Cardiff and Vale College student Megan Bishop to support her learning.

Ms Bishop, from Cardiff, is on a BTEC level three business course at the college’s Dumballs Road campus.

Having achieved a distinction in her first year, Ms Bishop is now into her second year and plans on completion to either take up an apprenticeship in the financial sector or go to university.

The next meeting of Cardiff Breakfast Club, will be addressed by head of partnerships at the Newport-based Alacrity Foundation, Caroline Thompson, on December 4th.

Cardiff Breakfast Club is sponsored by Blake Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, The Western Mail, Effective Communication and Stills Branding.

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