By Sarah John, of Acorn


There is no question that work-based learning is succeeding in helping to fill the gap left by falling numbers of students applying for higher education courses in Wales.

However, it remains clear that to improve the skill levels of the Welsh workforce, businesses, training providers and higher education establishments will need to continue to work together to support the ongoing growth in the Welsh economy through career development at work.

It’s because of this that a year ago we, at Acorn, developed a part-time foundation degree course with Cardiff Metropolitan University – developed at the university’s premises and based on work-related assignments which will allow for future progression to full degree status or potentially a Master’s degree.

The Foundation Degree (Arts) Applied Professional Practice – based on management, leadership and personal development – enables employees already working in management to study towards a degree – gaining the full university experience while being able to carry on the day job, and we’re now looking to fill a cohort of 10 for September’s intake for the start of the third two-year course. Course numbers are kept small to ensure each individual receives concentrated tuition and the highest-quality learning experience.

Among those on the very first course is Gemma Richards, a group customer services manager for Newport-based Tellermate, who wanted to develop her leadership skills and expertise and chose to join the foundation degree course because it was a good fit with her role and responsibilities at work.

She has already learned and developed problem-solving skills, leadership techniques and project-management tools that will enable her to play a key role in upcoming projects at work. Gemma said: “My skills and learning are placing me in good stead for new opportunities as they arise, and will allow me to apply my new skills to the advantage of the business.”

For more information on the course, please go to: