Building skills for the future: a Q&A with Heledd Morgan
In advance of her talk at Teach Inspire Create: Wales, we spoke to Heledd Morgan, Lead Change Maker at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, about how UAL Awarding Body’s creative qualifications help students build skills for the future.
Please can you tell us about your current role and how you got there?
My current role is Lead Change Maker at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales - a job title that often makes people smile. Essentially, change-making is about having the confidence and spotting the opportunities to support and challenge the public sector in Wales to apply the world-leading Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. My role is to be an advocate for future generations and I do this by raising awareness, providing training, giving feedback, doing research and lobbying on policy and legislation. I have also been the lead for the Commissioner's policy priority of Skills for the Future.
Prior to this job, I was Partnerships Manager for a Local Authority in the South Wales valleys. I joined the newly-established Commissioner's team in 2017 on secondment initially, as I was implementing the Act on the ground, working with local public, private and voluntary sector partners to set collective objectives that would improve social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being for the area.
What is your mission at the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales?
Put simply, our mission is to act today for a better tomorrow. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is the first legislation in the world to enshrine the rights of future generations alongside current generations - and requires Welsh Government Ministers and public sector organisations to embed this commitment into everything they do. It’s the first piece of legislation in history to place regenerative and sustainable practice at the heart of our public services, connecting social, environmental, economic and cultural well-being and aiming to solve complex issues through better decision-making. The role of the Commissioner is to act as a guardian of those yet born, encouraging public bodies and others to think about the long-term impact of the things they do.
How do you think UAL Awarding Body’s creative qualifications help students build skills for the future?
The world is changing, perhaps more quickly than at any time in living memory. These changes are having profound implications to the future of work, community and well-being. Providing people with education and the opportunity to develop the right set of skills for their future is widely accepted as a significant determinant of life outcomes including health, socio-economic position and life expectancy. We need to react positively to these changes to ensure people have the right skills for our future Wales.
It is a consistent finding of my Skills for the Future work that employers are looking for employees with skills in creativity, problem-solving, communication and independent learning now; and this need is only growing with technological changes making it easier to automate many job roles. These changes are also having inequal consequences - with technological advances often benefiting white, able-bodied and middle class males.
Creative qualifications can help learners navigate some of the uncertainties of the world we live in and come up with creative solutions to many of the challenging issues (like the nature and climate emergency, economic austerity, demographic change and political unrest) that we face globally; hopefully leading to not only improved employment prospects, but a life well-lived for learners now and those coming in to the world in future.
What will you be discussing at Teach Inspire Create: Wales?
The education and training sector is a crucial component for in building a society, economy, environment and culture based on well-being - now and for future generations. So, I will be talking about how the Well-being of Future Generations Act is relevant to you and your work; how you can contribute to the national vision for Wales; and how we can all be change makers - leaving the world better than when we found it!