Fourteen apprentices from the South Wales Valleys have been given the opportunity to travel the world and experience student life in China.
The group are all apprentices with British Airways and trained by Coleg y Cymoedd, where they are all currently studying towards their Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Aeronautical Engineering, in addition to their workplace training with British Airways.
The apprentices travelled to Chongqing Industry Polytechnic College in China, organised by Coleg y Cymoedd, as part of an ongoing cultural exchange programme with the Chinese college.
The eight day exchange was designed to allow the apprentices to fully immerse themselves into college life in China. During that time the apprentices lived in student international accommodation on the college grounds, and participated in classes, cultural events and employer visits.
Commenting on his trip to China, British Airways apprentice, Max Baker, 19 from Cardiff, said: “We all had an amazing time! We’re so thankful for those involved for organising the trip, and very grateful to have had the experience. I'm sure it will be a week we all never forget and hopefully it can happen again in the future for other learners.”
The partnership between the two colleges was formed via the Chongqing Consortium (Wales), which is made up of seven Welsh colleges, including Coleg y Cymoedd.
The Consortium exists to promote Wales as an education destination. The FE Consortium employs a representative in Chongqing to facilitate education partnerships between Wales and China. As a result, Coleg y Cymoedd has had the opportunity to host groups of exchange students from Chongqing Industry Polytechnic College and undertaken training with over 170 staff in China.
Commenting on the apprentices’ trip and her college’s links with China, Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said:
“We are proud to be able to provide our learners with the chance to travel and experience new cultures as part of their training with Coleg y Cymoedd. Building international partnerships for the benefit of learners and the development of new educational opportunities is essential for modern colleges today.
“We are committed to making sure that the training opportunities and courses we provide are the very best in Wales. Our tutors work tirelessly to ensure this commitment is met and it is rewarding to know that colleges around the world are keen to replicate our achievements.”
Coleg y Cymoedd is also helping colleges in China to replicate the standards of education training it offers to learners in Wales. Recently, the college hosted staff from Chongqing City Management College for a four month job shadowing programme. Coleg y Cymoedd tutors have also travelled to China to share their expertise on a range of subjects including, curriculum development, leadership and management plus teaching and learning.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “Apprenticeship exchange programmes bring young adults together from all over the world to share and learn ideas, beliefs, and practices. These apprentices have been given a great opportunity to experience the world and gain the confidence they need to prepare themselves for their future.
“Coleg y Cymoedd is leading the way in terms of this type of international exchange and the knowledge and expertise their institution gains through these links can only improve the learning experience for all of their students. “