UNIVERSITIES and colleges and Wales will receive £65 million funding to reduce their carbon footprints and support students through the Covid pandemic.

The Welsh Government has announced funding worth £46 million to help colleges and universities reduce their carbon footprint and improve their digital connectivity, with the Welsh Government committing to reach net zero by 2050.

The funding will be used Education providers will use the funding on improvements to infrastructure, converting to LED lighting and increasing the number of electric car charging points, as well as “innovative plans to improve their carbon footprints.”

New training materials will also be developed for college students to learn about net zero carbon zero as part of their training.

And the funding will also support the costs of consumable materials – such as steel, bricks and timber – which are used on vocational courses.

Education minister Jeremy Miles also announced that all new school and college buildings will be required to meet net zero carbon targets.

The announcement comes as part of a £65 million package of funding for post-16 education in Wales.

The remaining funds will be used to support students through challenges brought about by the pandemic, through mentoring and increased mental health support.

£10 million of the funding will also be used for future research.

“We are committed as a government to fight climate change,” said Mr Miles. “Our colleges and universities have an important role within the national effort to reach net zero, as major employers across Wales and seats of learning for workers who will apply their learning in high-skilled professions.

“Colleges and universities have worked tremendously hard in enabling learning to continue, while keeping students and staff safe.”  

Amanda Wilkinson, director of Universities Wales, said: “The Welsh Government’s announcement of additional funding for these key areas of university activity is very welcome and comes at a crucial time.

“The additional support for research activity will have a positive and tangible impact. It is vital that Wales is at the forefront of research and innovation including for the social, health and economic benefits that this activity delivers. In a changing world, these activities will be more important than ever.

“Similarly, the support for institutions to reduce their carbon footprint has come at a timely moment. Our universities have made a range of commitments to support net zero including setting targets for emissions reductions and ensuring these targets are visible on their websites.”