Since launching in 2022, Taith – the Welsh Government’s international learning exchange programme – has awarded funding to allow over 11,000 people to learn, study and volunteer all over the world.
Taith provides opportunities for learners, young people and staff in every type of education and youth setting to travel abroad to learn, as well as allowing organisations to invite their international partners to come and visit Wales.
Since its launch in February last year, Taith has enabled:
- opportunities for over 11,000 people to take part in transformative learning exchange trips,
- exchanges between Wales and more than 90 countries,
- 142 projects involving more than 150 organisations from every local authority in Wales.
One group of young people who have benefitted from Taith funding are pupils from Oak Field Primary School in Barry who travelled to Murcia in Spain to take part in a range of educational and confidence-building activities alongside their Spanish peers.
Teacher Kelly Bladon applied for the funding, which enabled 30 children, aged 9-11, to take part; for many it was the first time they had left Wales. She said:
“This trip was about making sure the pupils have got aspirations for life, because how can you aspire to something that you’ve never experienced? They got to see that there’s a lot more out there.”
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the impact Taith is having, enabling us to break down barriers to international exchange and opening up opportunities for all.
“I’m so pleased to see such a wide range of education providers benefitting from the funding.
“Taith is about transformative opportunities for young people to build confidence, broaden their horizons, and grow their aspirations. The impact on those from underrepresented groups is often the highest, and the change we see in them the greatest.”
The funding is not limited to schools, colleges and universities. In April this year, GISDA, a Caernarfon-based charity working with homeless and vulnerable young people, took a group to Finland for a week of cultural and educational exchange. The trip had a huge impact on the wellbeing of the young people, many of whom would never have had this kind of experience without Taith.
Lyndsey Thomas, Head of Development at Gisda, said:
“It was life changing. One of the participants wrote us a letter to say how much they enjoyed the trip and how they had experienced happiness for the first time in years. The confidence they gained from the trip was amazing to hear.”
Taith is committed to reaching individuals from underrepresented groups – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, ethnic minority groups, disabled people and those with additional learning needs – who may face barriers to international learning exchange opportunities.
The majority of schools that have received funding so far are from the most deprived areas of Wales and the opportunities are not limited to those in mainstream education providers - two pupil referral units have recently secured funding.
Susana Galván Hernandez, Executive Director, Taith said:
“It is truly inspiring and rewarding to see the stories of these opportunities come to life, and the impact these exchanges are having on its participants – both on those travelling out of Wales as well as those welcoming participants into Wales.
“This is particularly true when the programme and the opportunities are reaching out to those with barriers to participation and who have been underrepresented in international exchange in the past.
“It is also hugely rewarding to see Taith recognised and embedded into the education and international exchange landscape in Wales and internationally – this is something that Wales should truly be proud of”.