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Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams was in Ceredigion today to meet staff and students at Aberystwyth University.

First published:
29 September 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Cabinet Secretary was making the first stop of a tour of all Higher Education Institutions in Wales over the autumn term, to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing those in the sector.

On a tour of the campus, Kirsty Williams met with the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Grattan as well as Lauren Marks and other officers from the Students’ Union. She also visited the Physics Department to find out about the instruments being developed for the ExoMars European Space Agency mission in 2020.  

The Physics Department also hosts the Aberystwyth Robotics Club – an afterschool club for young people aged 11-18 – who give a demonstration of some of the current projects being led by students. 

Kirsty said, 

“I have spent much of my first five months in post hearing all about the issues facing the education sector in Wales. So I was naturally delighted to get out there today and learn more about life on campus as well as experience fresher’s week first-hand.

“Aberystwyth was recently ranked best student experience in Wales by the Good University Guide and it’s clear to see why, especially at this exciting time of year.

“I was particularly pleased to learn more about the work the university has been carrying out with regard to widening access, giving young people from Wales the opportunity to spend six weeks on campus and experience study in an HE environment.

“Next month we will be launching Wales’ tenth Seren hub here in Aberystwyth. Year 12 pupils from across the area will come together, learn together and get valuable support from leaders within the university to ensure they are supported to achieve their academic potential.”

Acting Vice-Chancellor at Aberystwyth University, Professor John Grattan, said, 

“We are very pleased that the Education Secretary has been able to visit Aberystwyth University and to see at first hand why this is an exceptional place to learn and live. In the wake of the EU Referendum result and the recommendations of the Diamond review, it was an opportunity to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing universities at this time. 

“It was also an opportunity to highlight some of the high-quality research and development which is being carried out by academics here in Aberystwyth, including our involvement with the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission and our international expedition to Antarctica in January 2017. 

“As an institution, we place great emphasis on widening access to higher education through our flagship Summer University programme and some of the students who decided to enrol at Aberystwyth University as a result of their Summer University experience were able to talk to the Education Secretary about their reasons for choosing to study for a degree.” 

Seren is a network of regional hubs designed to support Wales’ brightest sixth formers gain access to leading universities. Ysgol Penglais and Ysgol Penweddig in Aberystwyth are key partners in the hub, together with Aberaeron, Bro Pedr, Aberteifi and Bro Teifi.