WalesOnline broke the story on 14 October in what was clearly a press release from Glyndwr University and A4e. "The company relationship is set to be launched in January with a means to achieving maximum participation in higher education from socially and economically disadvantaged sectors of society. It will take on innovative approaches to learning, tackling social exclusion and generational joblessness." There's more stuff about partnership, "re-skilling the workforce" and "transforming their lives". But it's not at all clear what the nature of this partnership is. For that, we had to wait till today and a piece in The Times Higher Education. "Glyndwr will train A4e staff so that they can give higher education to unemployed people" and will "validate higher education courses run by the international recruitment company, A4e." It's going to start in Wales but "Glyndwr might follow A4e’s business into Europe." Much the same piece appears in The Daily Post. The two organisations have not yet worked out the financial side of the deal but they hope to be up and running by January.
Let's not be entirely cynical. If this results in A4e being able to offer genuine degree-level courses to their unemployed clients, that can only be of benefit. The university, based in Wrexham, will not want to repeat the recent scandal surrounding the University of Wales which had been validating useless or non-existent courses for money. And A4e will want to be taken seriously in the higher education sector. But we'll have to wait and see.