Cardiff is one of the UK’s most highly skilled cities. The capital of Wales has a high number of graduates per head of population, high levels of residents with a good number of GCSEs and very few people with no qualifications at all.
This is good news for Cardiff. Education levels are one of the most important measures of future success, for residents and for the city economy. With three universities and 60,000 students, who make up nearly 15% of the city’s population, the city and region’s universities act as a conveyor belt of talent into the city economy and cultural life.
Performance in the city’s school system is now improving after years of underperformance, with a 12.6 percentage point increase in the number of pupils achieving 5 or more A* to C grade GCSEs, including Maths and English or Welsh over the last four academic years. Cardiff is now above the Wales average, but it has some way to go to be amongst the best. Too many schools are still underperforming, particularly in the city’s most deprived areas, and despite significant progress in recent years, too many young people are failing to make the transition to education, employment or training.
Improving the education system for all young people will be crucial in helping to break the link between disadvantage and the ability to lead a successful and fulfilling life.
Cardiff is one of the UK’s most highly skilled cities, with a high number of graduates per head of population, high levels of residents with a good number of GCSEs and very few people with no qualifications at all. The schools system is also improving, though it still has some way to go to be amongst the best in Wales.
Looking to the future, the city’s growth will put particular pressure on the education system. Future demand for school places is predicted to increase significantly in Cardiff by 2035. Already the equivalent of two new primary schools is being built each year. Over the next 3 years Cardiff is investing £170m in building new schools, refurbishing and improving existing schools. Given the scale of the investment and importance of schools in communities, this programme must be put at the heart of new approaches to community regeneration, public service delivery and citizen engagement.
It will also become increasingly important that young people have the right skills to succeed in the workplace. The structure of the UK economy is changing, influenced by technology, automation and global competitiveness. The general trend is towards highly skilled office based employment and the caring, leisure and service professions rather than manufacturing and administrative occupations. To support the future economy and meet the needs of a growing population, equipping young people with flexible and transferrable skills, and supporting them in to work, education or training will be a priority.