College campus launch sees world leading scientist fly home to join First Minister in celebrating milestone for education in the Cynon Valley
Aberdare has celebrated a landmark for education in the Cynon Valley, as Coleg y Cymoedd officially opens its multimillion pound campus in the heart of the town.
The college’s £22 million Aberdare campus was officially opened by First Minister Carwyn Jones and Dr Lyn Evans, the Welsh scientist who is project leader at CERN, the site of the world’s largest scientific experiment which successfully proved the existence of the Higgs Boson or “God Particle”.
The new campus, which has opened its door to over 600 full-time learners, was jointly funded by Coleg y Cymoedd and Welsh Government, which contributed £11 million to the project from its 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.
Addressing the learners, staff, and guests of Coleg y Cymoedd, First Minister Carwyn Jones, said: “I am proud the Welsh Government has supported this new college with £11 million of funding. When you look around this fantastic site, you can see it has been money well spent.
“This new college provides students with the most modern environment and very best resources to help them realise their potential. As well as benefitting teachers and students, the college will be an invaluable community resource for the people of Aberdare to use and enjoy.” The college reports that early indications show an upsurge in enrolment, which it in part credits to its work building co-operative partnerships with local comprehensive schools and employers.
Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This is truly a day of celebration as we officially open the doors of the new campus to showcase the facility Aberdare has been waiting for. We believe that it is the right of all in Wales to have access to high quality education and training that leads to real employment paths.
“We are grateful to Welsh Government for joining us in our mission to ensure that our communities in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly can access the facilities and opportunities they deserve. Our thanks also go to the businesses who work with us each year to allow our learners to gain the experience and job opportunities that will see them prosper.
“Most of all, we welcome our Aberdare community to join us to explore and enjoy the facility we have created here, and discover how we can support them in achieving their personal goals.”
In addition to the college’s established curriculum, the new campus provides access to an extended range of courses, including bricklaying, carpentry & joinery, electrical installation, plumbing, creative arts and media, and sports.
The official opening was also attended by Aberdare-born Dr Lyn Evans, who flew home to Wales from the CERN site in Switzerland specially to discuss the importance of providing education opportunities that encourage new generations to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects and high-value careers in industry.
That call was echoed by an array of Coleg y Cymoedd’s business partners, who took advantage of their first chance to visit the range of bespoke training facilities that have been incorporated into the new site.
Each year, the college’s longstanding links with major local employers and multinational companies allows its learners to secure sought-after apprenticeship and industry experience. In Aberdare, popular courses such as plumbing and electrical, and construction, are specifically designed to meet the industry job demands of firms in the area.
Designed over three floors, the main building of the new campus houses state-of-the-art facilities for many specialist courses, including computing, creative media, care and childhood studies, hospitality and catering, and hair and beauty.
The facilities also include a professional hairdressing salon, restaurant, and a coffee shop. Salon 44 hair and beauty salon, and Carriages restaurant will be open to the public as a new offering for the community as well as college learners.
The site’s proximity to Aberdare railway station, Aberdare Community School and the town centre will provide learners and staff with significantly improved access to public transport and commuter links from outlying areas.