Sporting success at Welsh College Championships

A group of students from Coleg y Cymoedd have been busy collecting food items and have also raised a fantastic £80 for the Rhondda Food Bank. The generous students studying on the full time Skills for Further Study course at the Rhondda Campus rallied to the cause after their tutor Theresa Thomas became aware of the local work being carried out by the Foodbank and shared with them, a video of the work undertaken by the Trussell Trust.

Twenty-one year old Laura Carter, from Tonyrefail, 17 year old Sadie Strinati from Treorchy and mature student Emma Wood from Treherbert were delighted with the response the group received from staff and students at the campus. Laura said, “When Theresa showed us the video the group were all in agreement that we should support the Trust; and as part of our Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification we decided to hold various activities to generate some funds.

It is sad that in 2013, there are so many people, who through no fault of their own are unable to purchase food; this may be through illness, unemployment or family breakdowns. We also raised money from the raffle and craft stall which will help to support families in crisis”.

David Holland, Rhondda Foodbank Manager accepted the donations and thanked the students for their support. David said “On behalf of the Foodbank I am grateful to the college for their donations and also for the students offer to undertake work placements at the Tylorstown Food bank.”

The students will be an asset to us and helping with the collection, recording and distribution of food from our base at Tylorstown. We are proud of the work the charity undertakes and the Trussell Trust has recently been named ‘Britain’s Most Admired Charity’ at Third Sector’s 2013 charity award ceremony held at Google HQ in London. It is through working with establishments such as the college that we are able to promote the charity and the service we offer.”

Tutor Nicola Williams said, “The group has worked extremely hard with the various fundraising activities which have included raffles, selling cards and gift tags; the video had a huge impact on them and it is made more real knowing that local people are relying on the Trust to eat. Hopefully the food parcels we have collected will bring some cheer to those in need”.

Valleys campus just behind The Shard in UK building excellence awards

Tesco workers in the South Wales Valleys, who put new skills on their shopping list for 2013, are now reaping the rewards, thanks to a productive partnership between the supermarket and Coleg y Cymoedd.

The scheme is helping staff in Tesco’s Ystrad Mynach, Maesteg and Aberdare superstores to sharpen their maths, communications and computer skills in order to get on in work and in life.

And the store is so impressed with the results that they want to extend the scheme to stores in neighbouring valleys and eventually right across South Wales.

Coleg y Cymoedd tutors have been visiting the three stores regularly to deliver valuable learning sessions under the Welsh Government and European Financed Essential Skills in the Workplace (ESiW) programme.

Courses are tailored to the needs of individual workers and lead to nationally recognised Essential Skills Wales (ESW) qualifications. The workplace-based training aims to give participants new transferable skills and confidence in order to take on more responsibility at work.

David Francis, Director of Finance at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Tesco is demonstrating a real commitment to its employees. We are delighted to be working with major companies like this who share our goals to provide lifelong learning opportunities for every member of our community. It is rewarding to hear the excellent feedback our teachers have received from those who have embraced this training to develop their personal skill sets alongside friends and colleagues.

Participating staff have been keen to explain how their confidence and self-esteem have benefited for the training.

One of them, Kath Ward, from Tesco’s Ystrad Mynach superstore, used the opportunity to brush up on her maths and ICT skills.

She said: “The course was hard in places as I did not know that much about computers. It also taught me that I needed a re-fresher for the maths I learnt in school. I’m very glad I completed it and am looking forward to the next one.”

Mike Casey, store director for Tesco superstores Wales, said: “Our partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd has already proven highly successful.

“The feedback from our participating team members has been phenomenal and we are keen to expand our partnership with the college to allow employees from our Caerphilly and Ebbw Vale stores the opportunity to develop their skills. In time I hope that our success with the college will lead to us providing ESiW opportunities to all our stores across south Wales.”

Springboks coaching Coleg y Cymoedd rugby team

Outfits that previously failed to find buyers at an upmarket city centre charity store are going on sale again after getting a complete revamp from talented Valleys art and design students.

The aspiring designers, who are all Extended Diploma students at Coleg y Cymoedd, used their new-found skills to turn the fabrics from the Oxfam Boutique Cardiff into a range of highly original ensembles.

And before heading back to the store in high profile St Mary Street, their eye-catching handiwork went on display during a special fund-raising fashion show held at the college’s Nantgarw campus.

The project’s aim was to get students to consider the sustainability and ethical issues associated with the fashion industry, while simultaneously providing them with direct experience of staging professional standard fashion events that will prove invaluable for future employment opportunities.

The thirteen garments and the collection of accessories created by the students are entirely constructed from recycled materials such as paper and plastic, and fabric supplied by the Oxfam Boutique, which could not be sold by the shop. Working under a Japanese theme, the fashion and textile and 3D students’ work was heavily influenced by Japanese floral prints, architecture, art and design.

Cory Beth-Jones, 18, from Pontygwaith, was one of the students to exhibit her work at the event: “This is the first time I have ever created pieces for the catwalk, and it’s the first time my work will go on sale in a real Boutique. Up-cycling donated items into bespoke Japanese pieces presented interesting, technical and enjoyable challenges. Knowing that your work will be on display and then sold to the public changes the way you produce a garment.”

The event itself was an exciting experience, I was a little nervous, but it’s definitely helped me to realise just how much I want to continue my studies at university and start my fashion career.”

Following their catwalk debut, the students’ creations will be sold at the Oxfam Boutique store on St Mary’s Street, Cardiff, with all proceeds going to Oxfam. The exhibition also allowed students’ to gain ‘real world’ experience in the organisation, promotion and management of a large scale event.

The fashion show was very much a joint enterprise between students right across the college. Alongside the fashion show there was an exhibition of Graphic Arts students work based on promoting the worldwide issues that Oxfam support and represent. Volunteers from the hair and beauty and Media make-up departments helped prepare the models for the catwalk, while catering students delivered professional standard refreshments, Music Technology students provided the soundtrack, and the lead up and event was captured for the record by photography and media students.

The event exhibited pieces from The Resist Gallery LLantrisant, which specialises in Japanese clothing and textiles. Michelle Griffiths , the owner and designer at Resist also provided the fashion and textile students with creative input and advice during the production of their own garments. Kaori Onoda, a volunteer from the Japanese Community in Cardiff also gave a presentation on traditional Japanese dress.

Lisa Porch, lecturer at the Coleg y Cymoedd: “Each of the fashion and textile students has worked tirelessly to produce their garments and accessories. The objective of the project was to allow each student to gain real life experience working in the fashion industry. The combined recycling and Japanese theme has presented unique challenges, but the support from Oxfam and Resist Gallery has helped them to create garments that are both inspired by Japanese techniques and commercially appealing.”

Students help create the ‘Valley of the Dead’

Coleg y Cymoedd’s engineering department and its apprentices have been honoured at a high-profile industry awards ceremony, where they received the accolade of Wales’ Best College for its delivery of the Pathways to Apprenticeship programme in Engineering.

The award is part of the UK-wide Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) Future Manufacturing Awards programme, which is now in its fifth year.

The college was presented with the honour at a ceremony attended by hundreds of employers, training providers and apprentices at Chester Racecourse.

EEF holds the annual awards to showcase the best of British innovation in the manufacturing industry and is recognised as the largest and most prestigious event awards in the sector.

Coleg y Cymoedd was commended for its work with leading national and local partners to provide learners with training and nationally recognised qualifications that lead to real jobs.

Some of the college’s engineering industry partners include aviation giants GE Aviation, British Airways Maintenance in Cardiff, BA Avionics Llantrisant, BA Interiors Blackwood, and local companies FSG Tool & Die Ltd (FSG) and Allevard Springs Ltd.

The awards also recognised the achievements of several of Coleg y Cymoedd’s apprentices and learners. Aled Hughes who is learner employed by British Airways Maintenance in Cardiff, won the best Pathway to Apprenticeship learner award for the 2012/13 academic year.

Speaking of his achievement, Aled said: “I am very proud to have been presented with the award and I am incredibly grateful to the college and British Airways Maintenance for providing me with this opportunity to start my engineering career under the Pathways to Apprenticeship scheme.”

A host of other Coleg y Cymoedd students were recognised at the awards. Williams Beynon, a Pathway to Apprenticeship learner employed by FSG Tool & Die Ltd, was a finalist for Best Pathways to Apprenticeship award for 2012/13; Amy Strange and Luke Parry, who are both Work Based Learning students at the College and are apprentices with GE Aviation and FSG (respectively), were both finalists for Best 3rd Year Apprentice award; and Cerys Williams was a runner up in the category of Best Final Year Apprentice. Cerys, a former learner from the college’s Pathways to Apprenticeship and Work Based Learning programmes, recently completed her apprenticeship and has gained employment with local manufacturer Allevard Springs.

Commenting on the achievements of Coleg y Cymoedd’s engineering department, Mel Jones, curriculum director at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This year’s EEF Future Manufacturing Awards are a fantastic recognition of the hard work of the college’s engineering staff and their dedication to providing the highest standards of training and skills provision to the next generation of Welsh engineers. Our work is already recognised by our partners in industry, many of whom have themselves been recognised in this year’s awards.”


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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