Education and skills

In this section

Will services be affected?
Higher education, further education and apprenticeships
EEA teacher sanctions or restrictions
Data protection

Will services be affected?

The Welsh Government is working closely with the education sector to assess and mitigate the potential impact of a no deal Brexit on schools, further education institutions and our universities.

Although schools should not be directly affected by a no deal in the immediate term, issues arising in other sectors could have a knock-on impact. We are working closely with local authorities to prepare for these in advance so services are maintained for learners. You can find out more by reading our guidance for schools in Wales.

Further education institutions should not face any immediate impacts, but we are monitoring and working with the sector to prepare. In the longer-term, we have made it clear that the EU funding which many of our colleges have benefitted from must be replaced in full after the UK leaves the EU to continue their strong record of building Wales’ skills base and spreading opportunity. Similarly, we are working with apprenticeship providers to prepare.

In a no deal Brexit scenario, there is a risk that some businesses could make apprentices redundant. If that should happen, the Welsh Government will do all it can to find an alternative employer willing to take on the apprentice and we will support the apprentice during that process.

The Welsh higher education sector is proud of its global reach and scope and we support the views of university leaders that the UK leaving the EU without a deal is one of the biggest threats our universities have ever faced. They make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy, jobs, public services and culture in Wales and it is vital they are protected.

Soon after the EU referendum, the Welsh Government set up a Higher Education Brexit Working Group to provide advice about the implications of Brexit for the higher and further education sectors in Wales.

To support our universities, we have provided extra funding to Higher Education Funding for Wales (HEFCW) to help it to deal with the initial implications of EU transition and we have funded international partnerships in a number of priority markets, including the USA and Vietnam.

Higher education, further education and apprenticeships

The EU Settlement Scheme

Since March 30 2019, EU citizens and their families can apply for the Home Office’s settled status scheme. This will enable them to continue to live and work in Wales following Brexit.

If you are an EU citizen, have EU staff or are recruiting from the EU, the Home Office has published the following advice:

  • if EU citizens want to stay in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, they and their close family members will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme opened on March 2019.
  • a toolkit has been launched to equip employers with tools and information to support EU citizens and their families about the EU Settlement Scheme.

Staff and students from the EU arriving after Brexit

In Wales, we will continue to welcome people from the EU, including UK nationals living in the EEA or Switzerland, to work or study in Wales.

If you are a UK national living in the EU but have never lived in the UK

The Welsh Government welcomes the UK government’s intention to continue access to home fee status, student support and access to Further Education and apprenticeships in a no deal scenario for a transition period of 7 years.

We want to provide assurance that the UK’s exit from the EU will not affect UK nationals’, currently living in the EEA or Switzerland, eligibility for student support or access to further education and apprenticeships in Wales for at least 7 years following a no deal scenario.

For further information you should contact the relevant student funding body within the UK country where you wish to study for further information on your eligibility for student finance support.

Mutual recognition of professional qualifications

We have welcomed the shared ambition for the UK government and the EU for a future agreement for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ), which will help the FE and HE sectors to continue to attract international students.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be no mutual recognition of professional qualifications. However, a new system will be introduced in the UK for new applicants, which would require UK regulators to recognise EEA and Swiss qualifications which are of an equivalent standard to UK qualification. There would be no automatic reciprocity by EEA States and Switzerland to recognise UK professional qualifications; instead they will need to check the regulation policies of the individual EEA States and Switzerland. For further details, and to see a list of professions within scope, see this notice from the UK government on GOV.UK..

Travel to the EU

The UK government has issued guidance for travel to the EU - Travel to the EU on GOV.UK

Study in the EU

To support UK citizens currently studying in the EU we have published the advice Guidance for UK nationals studying in the EU, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal on GOV.WALES.


Student finance

EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019-20 will be eligible to pay the same tuition fees as Welsh students and will be eligible to receive loans or grants from Student Finance Wales. Students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course.

EU students should speak to their university’s student finance office or visit the Student Finance Wales website for more information about the support available.

Eligibility for places and funding in academic years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 (FE) including apprenticeships

Anyone in Wales who is 16 or over can apply for an apprenticeship and benefit from the opportunities offered. Learners aged 15 who have reached statutory school leaving age are also eligible to apply.

Anyone working in Wales who has left statutory education (usually those 16 or over) and with the right to live and work in the UK can apply for an apprenticeship and benefit from the opportunities offered; Welsh Government funding will be available to enable completion of the apprentice’s Apprenticeship Learning Plan.

For more information about becoming an apprentice visit

Business and apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are designed around the needs of the employer and can help transform your business by offering a route to find fresh new talent. Apprentices work alongside experienced employees to gain on the job skills while receiving outside training from an approved college or training provider. You cover their wages and Welsh Government offers support with some of the training costs.

By recruiting an apprentice you can reduce costs, create a pool of talent and a skilled workforce, expand your business and much more. All businesses in Wales of any size can benefit so register your interest now to find out more and recruit your apprentices today at the Business Wales Skills Gateway.

EU funding – Horizon and Erasmus+

Our participation in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus schemes from January 2021 will depend on the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU and whether the UK government secures third country participation in these programmes on behalf of the UK.

More information is available in the guidance Horizon 2020 funding after Brexit on GOV.UK, including detail about the guarantee, the extension to the guarantee and how the UK will continue to support research and innovation after exit day.

The UK government has issued guidance for the operation of its EU funding guarantee in respect of Erasmus+.

We continue to seek confirmation the UK government will replace research funding sources from those which we may be excluded from when the UK leaves the EU. In particular, we are awaiting explicit assurances that if the UK is unable to participate in the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding schemes, which support world-leading breakthroughs, that alternatives will be created with the same level of funding.

European Social Fund

In the longer-term, the Welsh Government have made it clear that the EU funding which many of our colleges have benefitted from must be replaced in full after the UK leaves the EU to continue their strong record of building Wales’ skills base and spreading opportunity.

Checking for EEA teacher sanctions or restrictions

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the Education Workforce Council (EWC) may not automatically receive from EEA professional regulating authorities, details of those teachers who have been sanctioned, post exit, in EEA member states.  

In this case, it is important that colleges in Wales use the same processes and safer recruitment checks they perform when employing an individual from the rest of the world, as well as implementing any further checks they feel are appropriate.

Data protection

Following Brexit, the rules about how personal data flows between the EU and the UK will change. Visit the Information Commissioner’s website and Using personal data in your business or organisation and Brexit on GOV.UK to find out more about how these changes will affect you or your organisation.

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