Cabinet Secretary shown innovation at work during Bangor University visit

The Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, visited Bangor University on Thursday (16 March), attending the North and Mid Wales Reaching Wider Partnership Conference as well as visiting the Students’ Union and Arloesi Pontio Innovation (API) spaces at the Pontio building.

Reflecting on her visit to the University, the Cabinet Secretary said: “I am extremely grateful to John and his team for another great tour of Bangor’s fabulous facilities. I was especially pleased to meet students at the Union and learn first-hand about life on campus as well as the world-renowned student experience.Kirsty Williams AMKirsty Williams AM

“I was also pleased to learn more about the work the university has been carrying out with regard to widening access, giving people from the area the opportunity to spend time on campus and experience study in an HE environment.”

During her visit Kirsty Williams AM met students and was shown around the Students’ Union where she was given a brief presentation on the work undertaken by the various sabbatical officers and how their work has led to Bangor University becoming well-known for its student experience and pastoral care.

She also visited Arloesi Pontio Innovation, home to cutting-edge design facilities and equipment. Here, the Cabinet Secretary was briefed on some of their recent activities, which included helping a local father develop a prosthetic arm for his young son.

The story of how API helped Bangor University graduate Ben Ryan develop an arm for his son, Sol, who had to have his arm amputated at just 10 days old, made international headlines recently. Ben gave up his job to develop a prosthetic for Sol and set up a company, Ambionics, a start-up company supported by API, to develop prosthetics for other young children.Arloesi Pontio InnovationArloesi Pontio Innovation

Professor John G. Hughes, Vice Chancellor of Bangor University said: “This was an excellent opportunity for the Cabinet Secretary to meet students and see some of the innovative work we do to help individuals and businesses in the region.”

Prior to visiting Pontio, the Cabinet Secretary attended the North and Mid Wales Reaching Wider Partnership Conference. The Reaching Wider programme is a Wales-wide strategy that aims to widen participation and access to Higher Education, supporting social inclusion and upskilling.

It seeks to increase participation in higher education from groups and communities in Wales where participation is low, by creating a wide range of study opportunities and learning pathways to higher education. The conference brought together all the Partnership’s regional stakeholders, including universities, Further Education colleges and various community regeneration groups.

Publication date: 17 March 2017