The History of WEA Cymru
The WEA in Wales came into being in 1907, four years after the WEA in England. Founded by Albert Mansbridge in 1903, the Association was created as an alliance between labour (working classes) and learning (universities).
The WEA's ideological roots are shared with a clutch of 19th century initiatives, such as the mechanics institute, the co-operative movement and popular public lectures on science, all created to encourage and support the desire by working people for further learning throughout their lives. The Association remains a voluntary organisation run democratically through its branches and members, with many WEA learners actively involved in planning new learning.
WEA Cymru in Wales Today
WEA Cymru provides community education, including community development and on-line learning in communities and workplace education. It delivers its work through a local branch structure and partnership working with community and voluntary organisations, representative organisations in the workplace, and other providers, including the voluntary sector, local authorities, further education colleges, and universities. WEA Cymru focuses particularly on offering a wide provision of opportunity regardless of age, engaging with all communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, to meet their needs by negotiation.
Learners and branches continue to have a proper and unique role in developing and negotiating local provision and representing the organisation as a whole. For funding purposes the WEA Cymru is a community-based College of Further Education, where its main source of funding is from the Welsh Government, Department for Education and Skills (DfES); to draw down this funding the organisation adheres to DfES quality and audit requirements. In addition, a small proportion of WEA Cymru income comes from grant sources, contract work as well as voluntary members.
Merger with Coleg Harlech WEA(N)
WEA Cymru came into being on 10th January 2014 through the merger of Coleg Harlech WEA(N) and WEA South Wales.
The WEA is a democratic, independent and voluntary adult education movement, committed to widening participation, promoting active citizenship and skills development and providing the best quality learning, through a collaborative approach, working across the whole of Wales.
To enhance the life chances of adults and young people through the delivery of high quality education that promotes active citizenship, employability, cultural enrichment, social justice and health and well being, giving due regard to the Welsh language and culture and the diversity of communities in Wales.
To empower individuals, through the attainment of confidence, skills and knowledge, so that they can play an active and democratic role in society locally, nationally and internationally.
Our vision is to be the leading provider of adult community learning and workplace learning in Wales, with a strong strategic role within Adult Community Learning.
To involve learners, volunteers, branches, members and other partners in:
• Influencing and campaigning on behalf of adult and young learners
• Removing barriers to learning
• Being responsive to learners, individuals, employers and communities
• Making the most effective use of resources
• Promoting learning for life
• Changing and enriching lives through learning – at individual and community level and in the workplace
• Enriching the civic and cultural life of Wales
• Promoting of Welsh language and culture
• Developing adult education thought and practice
• Working in tandem with key local, regional and national strategies
• Promoting adult education worldwide