Coleg y Cymoedd is among the joint winners of a British Council award for helping to improve the lives of marginalised young people in the UK and abroad.
The College jointly received the British Council New Partnership Award with Coleg Gwent, West Lothian College and youth organisations overseas for its effort in removing barriers to employment for young people both at home and abroad in Wales, Scotland and Morocco.
In addition to providing support for young people in Wales and Scotland, the partnership has made a real impact to the lives of vulnerable young people in Morocco - a country which has seen a large increase in the number of vulnerable people engaging in technical and vocational education.
The partners developed a range of interactive learning resources and have already recruited more than 100 young vulnerable learners onto employability programmes.
Partners of the project collected the award at a British Council conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Karen James, Campus Director at Coleg Y Cymoedd said “It has been a wonderful experience for all the Coleg Y Cymoedd staff to work with The British Council, Bayti and AIDA. It has been very rewarding to be able to help children and staff from a different Country and culture however many of the problems are similar to those in South Wales. We hope that the partnership will continue.”
People from vulnerable backgrounds often lack the skills and support to secure long-term employment. In Morocco this population includes prisoners, school drops-outs, disabled people and beneficiaries of the National Initiative for Human Development.
The aim of the project, launched in June 2014, is to change the attitudes of employers towards this group and to actively develop the soft and life skills of the young people themselves. The long-term vision of the project is to replicate the innovative new approach across Morocco to support young people in their search for employment.
The new approach piloted by the partnership included technical training, pastoral support and employer engagement to ensure that young people are supported in developing their skills and building their futures.
Coleg y Cymoedd’s role in the British Council project was to share staff expertise in working with NEETS (people not in education, employment or training) focusing on the learner and offering valuable skills through training.
Coleg y Cymoedd shares the award with their partners in the project from Coleg Gwent, West Lothian College, AIDA, a development charity specialising in education and human rights programmes for young people, and Bayti, a Moroccan organisation working with vulnerable young people.
The project is part of the British Council’s programme for skills development and vocational education, and offers those who are traditionally overlooked by employers the opportunity to receive training and gain valuable skills.