An independent report released by Universities Wales has shown that universities are continuing to have a huge impact on the Welsh economy.
Not only do universities reach out to communities and individuals, they create thousands of jobs and stimulate the wider economic activity of local areas and the Welsh economy as a whole.
Conducted by Viewforth Consulting for the academic year 2015/16, the study found that the activities of universities, their students and the friends and family of their international students generated over £5bn of Welsh output.
The study found that, despite the shifting economic surrounding Brexit and wider political decisions, universities in Wales are still having an increased impact.
Analysis of the economic impact of universities in Wales across the whole country shows that all parts of Wales share in the benefits, even those areas which do not host a university.
Impact flowed across Wales, with £561m GVA generated and 11, 024 jobs created in areas which do not have a university presence.
Julie Lydon, chair Universities Wales said: “The report shows the significant value of universities, which in 2015/16 generated over £5bn of output for Wales, and created almost 50,000 jobs.
“These aren’t small numbers and demonstrate the way in which universities further individual and national prosperity, offer opportunities through employment and generate significant impact in their communities as local anchors for regional and community-led economic growth.
“I’m proud that we can demonstrate that our universities are continuing to work for the whole of Wales.
“Even those towns and regions which may not have a campus on their doorstep still benefit from the value generated by the sector, with over 21% of all GVA created by universities generated in regions without a university presence.”
Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, added: “It is important to celebrate the economic, social and cultural impact of our universities.
“I welcome the opportunity to recognise that they are assets not only to the furthering of knowledge but are vital investors, employers and leaders at the local, national and international levels.
“This report highlights the vital contribution that our universities make to the economic fortunes of our country.
“I’m delighted that this report shows that this contribution has continued to grow, and is benefitting communities right across Wales.”
As internationally renowned institutions, universities also have a large impact on Welsh trade and export earnings worldwide.
Through their international activities, Welsh universities generated over £544m, equivalent to 4.1% of 2016 Welsh export of goods.
Ian Price, director, CBI Wales, said: “This report demonstrates the significant and wide-reaching economic impact generated by Welsh universities.
“As businesses themselves, and through the creation of jobs, generation of expenditure through their activities and the furthering of skills, universities in Wales do much to support the local and national economies, benefitting businesses and communities across Wales.”