Coleg y Cymoedd is a key player in boosting Rugby League in Wales

Students from the Coleg y Cymoedd rugby team have had the honour of being trained by expert coaches from the South African team ahead of their head-to-head with Wales.

The Springbok’s coaches came to Coleg y Cymoedd’s training ground in Treforest to lead a scrummaging session with the young team, passing on their professional advice and experience with the students.

The experts included the South Africa-born former France international player Pieter de Villiers and Scot Richie Gray who was brought on board as the breakdown consultant for the Springboks earlier this year.

The South African team had been training in Treforest in the lead up to the Wales match, and the coaches showed interest in working with the Coleg y Cymoedd team to lead a session on a state-of-the-art scrimmaging machine which is expected to change modern rugby.

Scrum coach de Villiers retired after the 2007 Rugby World Cup with 69 French caps and 14 years at French club Stade Francais. He said: “We’ve been getting player feedback from the boys about the srummaging machine prototype, which is the first time I’ve seen it. They were a good group to work with, and you can tell they’re well-coached because they bind very well and have a high performance level.” The prototype which is being tested in Wales has the potential to change scrummaging in the future.

“The second best thing after playing is coaching youngsters, as I get lots of pleasure in sharing my specific knowledge of the scrum with others and seeing young players develop and learn the trade.”

Captain of Coleg y Cymoedd rugby team is Liam Belcher, 17, from Trebanog near Rhondda. Liam is in his second and final year of studying BTEC Level 3 Sport and aspires to be a rugby coach after a professional playing career. He said: “It was such an honour to have someone so experienced coaching us, especially with South Africa having such a dominant scrum at the moment. All the boys took so much away from the session which should help us in our upcoming games.” The Coleg y Cymoedd team includes many promising players as a result of a link up with the Cardiff Blues Academy, designed to allow talented youngsters to combine sporting and educational achievement.

The aim of the academy is to develop the rugby skills of the students on the course, but also to ensure that they are prepared academically should a career in rugby not materialise. The students develop team work skills, determination and have an opportunity to see how careers in coaching can be rewarding and fulfilling. This will support them to succeed in any future employment.

Clive Jones, the director of rugby at Coleg Morgannwg, said: “Our partnership with the Cardiff Blues Academy has enabled Wales’ next generation of rugby talent to train with one of the best teams in the world and we are really grateful to the South African coaches for paying us a visit.”

Further images available at

Coleg y Cymoedd celebrates apprentice graduation at GE Aviation Wales

Sport teams and competitors from Coleg y Cymoedd have qualified to represent Wales in a variety of sporting events at the British Colleges Sport Championships in April.

The teams and individuals will go on to compete in the National Championships following winning the regional finals for their categories at the Welsh College Championships in November.

The winning teams included both the male and female volleyball teams representing the Nantgarw campus, run by female captain Atlanta Taylor and male captain Tom Dacey.

Alexandra Evans, who is studying Level 3 Sport at the Ystrad Mynach campus, became the Welsh Colleges Women’s Table Tennis Champion and will represent Coleg y Cymoedd at the national competition. Alexandra has previously finished third representing the college in a UK-wide table tennis tournament.

The Welsh Colleges Women’s Badminton Doubles Championship was won by Level 2 Sport Students Kimberly Williams & Mary Ann Lewis who are studying at the Ystrad Mynach campus.

Natasha Lewis & Ryan Jones, both studying Level 2 Sport at the Ystrad Mynach campus, won the Welsh Colleges Mixed Badminton Doubles competition and will compete together in the national finals in April.

The National Championships is an annual event that has grown tremendously and now celebrates fourteen sports in regional and national championships. The National Championships have been running for thirty five years, making it the longest running student competition and one of the largest annual sporting events in the UK.

Many of the colleges other sport teams and individual students competed in a number of sporting categories. The Ystrad Mynach campus Basketball team and college wide netball team also competed in the Welsh Colleges Championships and performed well.

Tom Dacey, Volleyball male team captain said: “The competition was a good stepping stone to progressing as a team towards playing more experienced and well drilled squads. The competition helped us work together to improve our team moral and understand how each member of the team copes under certain circumstances on and off court.”

Celebration of Shwmae Sumae Day

Photo’s courtesy of Photographer Kevin Thomas, , further images at Kevin Thomas Flickr Galley

A creative group of media special effects students have put their new-found skills to gruesome use in creating an ‘army of the living dead’ at the Dare Valley Country Park.

The scary spectacle was unleashed by students from Coleg y Cymoedd as part of the Valley of the Dead 2013, a unique annual event which sees 270 runners from across South Wales take part in a 5km obstacle course while being chased by 60 zombies.

The cast of zombies were the handiwork of 25 young people currently studying towards foundation degrees in Performing Arts Technologies and foundation degrees and BA Hons in Costume Construction for Screen and Stage at Coleg y Cymoedd.

The students are training to become special effects artists, media wardrobe managers and prop and costume designers for the film, TV and theatre industries. The day spent applying fake blood and realistic looking wounds is the culmination of several weeks’ work to create an assortment of props and costumes for the cast.

Kelly Jones, from Cardiff, who took part in the day’s activities said: “It’s not every day you get to create a hoard of zombies and have it count towards your degree, so it’s certainly one I’ll remember. Opportunities like this are one of the reasons I decided that I wanted to work in this industry. You never know what you will be called to do. It’s great to be putting the skills we have learned at college into practise.”

Coleg y Cymoedd’s foundation degree in Performing Arts Technologies is the only one of its kind in South Wales. Launched in September 2012, the course has already developed a strong reputation within Wales’ TV, film and performance industries. In its first year, foundation students successfully secured work placements with the BBC, S4C and various independent production companies.

The success of the Creative Industries Department is attributed to the hands-on industry experience and expert guidance students receive from college lecturers, who themselves continue to work within the industry alongside their teaching roles at the college.

Course leader, Jane Beard, said: “This project is a fantastic start to the academic year. Gaining experience working as part of a professional production team is an invaluable part of our creative industries courses. It will stand these students in good stead as they look to enter the professional media and creative industries.

“There are numerous opportunities for those seeking to enter this exciting industry. A number of students have already spent time working the BBC, S4C and the Welsh National Youth Opera. This weekend’s work demonstrated that certain students have already benefitted from working on the set of Casualty, they definitely have a talent for creating realistic-looking wounds.”

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “A key part of our students’ education is hands-on experience and this zombie experience is a great example of the range of projects they get involved in. The students enjoyed showcasing what they’ve learned over the term so far, and work experience like this will be hugely attractive to media employers upon completing their course.”

Lauren Griffiths, from Blackwood, who took part in the day’s activities said: “Working on the Zombie run directly with RCT Council was really fun and different. It was fantastic getting to work together with other departments in the college, as well as meeting new people I learnt a lot of techniques of how things are done in the industry. This was our first module, and I have learnt a lot from the experience, it was a huge learning curve. The experience will help me with the on-going course and the skills I’m carrying forward will be useful after I finish the course to gain employment or to go into further education, I think I want to do a masters.”

Amy Jones, 21, from Pencoed who also contributed to creating the zombie looks said: “This experience has taught me to work in a pressure situation; we were briefed on doing the zombie run in the second week of our course. I gained a lot of skills I didn’t previously have and these will be great to take forward to further challenges on the course. Everyone on my course who was involved really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. I have learnt so much in a short space of time and have realised how much I am capable of already. I think this experience will really help me with future employment; it will be an interesting and different talking point for interviews.”


Wellington Street
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF44 8EN


Heol y Coleg
Parc Nantgarw
CF15 7QY


Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF40 2TQ

Ystrad Mynach

Twyn Road
Ystrad Mynach
CF82 7XR

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