Learners from Coleg y Cymoedd are among the first in Wales to obtain a new sporting qualification as their college pilots a scheme to develop brand new apprenticeships for Wales focusing on sporting excellence.
Coleg y Cymoedd has been part of the first venture to offer apprenticeships in sporting excellence, a scheme piloted by the college in partnership with SkillsActive and Wales Rugby League.
Mainly focussed on rugby league, the apprenticeship is also offered in swimming, ice hockey, football and rugby union in a partnership between SkillsActive and Grwp Neath Port Talbot College.
John Phelps, vice principal at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Coleg y Cymoedd was very pleased to have been given the opportunity to pilot this apprenticeship route, the first of its kind in Wales, in partnership with Wales Rugby League and SkillsActive and we learned a lot from it.
“One of the most satisfying aspects for the partnership was the success of the young apprentices on the field where they performed admirably usually playing against much more experienced sides.
“Ten of the apprentices played for Wales Rugby League and won bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games in the trial sports for future games. In terms of progressing their playing careers, two students signed professional forms for Super League clubs and three others gained professional contracts.”
Coleg y Cymoedd has developed an impressive track record for developing the next generation of professional Welsh rugby talent through its renowned Blues Academy. Based at the college’s Nantgarw campus, the academy works in partnership with the Cardiff Blues team and ensures learners develop academically as well as on the pitch.
Ceri Thomas, SkillsActive apprenticeship manager for Wales, stated: “I am very proud to announce the successful piloting of these two innovative Apprenticeships funded by the Welsh Government. For the first time our Welsh Swimmers, Ice Hockey, Rugby Union, and League players have had the chance to train in a professional capacity and to gain work based qualifications, finally competing on level playing field with our English counterparts as a result of the apprenticeship in sporting excellence.
“Now that the framework has been successfully piloted we can’t wait to offer the opportunity to those other sports, their elite future stars and the young adventurous people across Wales, a chance to fulfil their ambitions, and at the same time gain some meaningful qualifications”.