College explores Vegan Cuisine with the professionals

Wales’ next generation of railway workers are on track for a first-class education, as Coleg y Cymoedd announces plans to open a multimillion pound Centre of Excellence for Railway Training in Nantgarw.

Coleg y Cymoedd has joined forces with McGinley Support Services to offer an exciting new Rail Apprenticeship Programme from September 2014.

A 2.2 million pound investment to create the new Centre of Excellence for Railway Training, complete with full scale railway track, will equip young adults with the knowledge and skills to work in the rail track industry.

The programme has been developed following an announcement by Network Rail of a £2 billion Electrification Framework Programme over the next seven -ten years; involving improvements across Wales and the rest of the country.

During the first year, 48 apprentices employed via McGinley, will follow the Apprenticeship in Railtrack Engineering; a Level 2 qualification; which will enable them to train in a realistic working environment.

The purpose built training facility at the College’s Nantgarw Campus will allow individuals seeking employment to develop the skills needed to work in the railway sector; as well as those currently working in the sector who may not be qualified or are seeking related qualifications such as manual handling and health & safety.

In addition there are a number of transferrable skills such as building works, trades and electrical trades which can be migrated across the railway environment and this new training facility will help achieve this.

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said “I am delighted with the partnership we have forged with McGinley to deliver the Rail Apprenticeship Programme. This investment is a representation of our College’s mission to strengthen the valleys through the provision of excellent education, skills and training opportunities.

“The hands on experience the apprentices will receive whilst at the college will provide them with skills to take back to their workplace. The rail track industry is a major employer in the area and figures show there is a significant shortfall of skilled labour at present and predicted in the future across the rail sector. Our new facility will facilitate the training and up-skilling for the current and future generation of railway workers”.

Coleg y Cymoedd will host an information session at the Nantgarw Campus on Wednesday July 16th to provide an overview of the programme and answer any questions. Please call 01443 663239/663137 to book your place. (Applicants must be 18 years by December 2014 – Sector Requirement).

Ambitious Tutor continues learning to win Research Student of the Year

Learners from Coleg y Cymoedd were invited to play an important part in celebrating the opening of the new multi-million pound Caerphilly Elite Academy Facilities adjacent to the Ystrad Mynach campus of the college.

The brand new facilities were recently officially opened with a day of sporting activities and learners were invited to show off their professional skills in coaching and refereeing a number of sessions for younger children from a range of different sports clubs.

The new £7 million Elite Sports Centre was officially opened in Ystrad Mynach on the site of the old hospital building, which is a stone’s throw away from the colleges Ystrad Mynach campus. A number of football and rugby matches tournaments took part throughout the day with Coleg y Cymoedd learners being actively involved in both sports.

The Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence was officially opened by Wales coach Warren Gatland and Welsh Government Sports Minister John Griffiths AM, and the Coleg y Cymoedd learners participation was a vital part of the sporting activities that took place throughout the day.

Head of Sport Neil Smothers said: It is fantastic that our learners were invited to play such an important part in the opening of this new facility. It is a great experience for them that they all thoroughly enjoyed. Our learners are very talented and it was great to have the opportunity for them to showcase what they can do”.

The invitation is testament to the strong relationship between the college and Caerphilly Country Borough Sports development, strengthened by previous student Tom Axenderrie who completed his Level 3 Sports qualifications with Coleg y Cymoedd last summer and went on to immediately secure employment with CCBC Sports Development.

Photo: Year 1 BTEC Level 3 Diploma Students (Left/right): Alex Jame, Evan Summer, Lewis Bressington.

Learners shine in World Poetry Competition

A young student from the south Wales valleys is to embark on a 6,000 mile journey to Cambodia where she will spend her summer helping to rebuild the country after 30 years of war and destruction.

Dion Newton, 18, from Clydach Vale, will travel to the now peaceful Cambodia to devote her time to tackling the aftermath of decades of conflict and political instability which have made it one of south-east Asia’s least developed nations.

The Coleg y Cymoedd student was the only college student to be selected by the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), the world’s leading independent international development organisation which works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. Rural poverty in Cambodia remains high with 35% of people living on less than 60 pence a day.

As a VSO volunteer, Dion will likely be working to tackle Cambodia’s serious food shortages, which are the result of growing population pressure, a decline in fish caused by over fishing and illegal fishing and a lack of appropriate management, regulation and enforcement.

Commenting on her upcoming volunteering work, Dion, said: “I’ve always been interested in volunteering, but traveling to Cambodia is going to be very different to my experience of volunteering at my local charity shop.

“I first learned about the VSO in college; I mentioned that I’d be interested in volunteering aboard and one of my tutors helped me research and apply to the VSO. I never thought they’d get back to me, let alone give me an interview. Going to London for the interview was a little scary; I was the only one applying who wasn’t in university. I still can’t believe I’m going but the nerves have now turned to excitement!

“I’m still not 100% sure on the details of what I’ll be doing while I’m there. Cambodia is struggling with so many issues like health, education, and politics; but I think I’ll be working to help protect the country’s fisheries agriculture to support the fight against food shortages.”

Dion was introduced to the VSO volunteering scheme by her tutor at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Rhondda Campus, Theresa Thomas: “Everyone at the college is incredibly excited for Dion and we have been working to support her in any way we can. I first learned of her interest in volunteering abroad after our class had watched a video on the poverty in India; I remember her saying ‘we’re really lucky here, aren’t we?’”

“Dion has truly earned this opportunity and we are delighted to have been able to help her raise some of the £800 she was tasked to raise towards funding the work in Cambodia. Everyone at the College wishes Dion the best of luck and looks forward to hearing her stories when she returns in September.”

As a VSO volunteer, Dion has been tasked with raising £800 to help fund the VSO’s relief efforts. Her fundraising has so far been assisted by events held at Coleg y Cymoedd and the Max Club in Dion’s hometown of Clydach Vale. Dion hopes that local residents and businesses will continue to raise funds for her worthy cause by making donations via her campaign’s website and text facility.

To support Dion’s volunteer work to aid the rural communities of Cambodia, please visit ,or, text ‘GHSL71’ & amount you wish to donate to ‘70070’.

Young mum recognised for outstanding learning achievements

A group of learners from Coleg y Cymoedd had an early start when they travelled to the Houses of Parliament, to meet their Member of Parliament, Owen Smith who represents Pontypridd.

Following a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament Mr Smith met with the learners and explained his role in Parliament before opening the floor to questions from the learners; many relating to topics in his constituency.

17 year old Business Learner Alisha Kelly, currently studying at the Nantgarw campus said “I really enjoyed the tour; the guide was extremely interesting and told us all about the history of the building and where certain meetings and debates take place. We have discussed aspects of politics in college and this helps to put the role of an M.P. into context”.

During their tour the learners were fortunate to also meet Chris Bryant, Member of Parliament for Rhondda as he moved between meetings. Mr Bryant chatted to the learners about their visit and how it related to their studies at the college.

After leaving the Houses of Parliament, the learners went on to the European Parliament where they took part in numerous exercises relating to the European Union. This they found extremely helpful as it gave them a greater understanding of function of the European Parliament and the positive impact the European Union gives to everyone.

Business tutor, Steve Andrews accompanied the students on their visit, he said ”It is important if we want our young people to engage in local affairs that we give them an insight into the roles of politicians, from Local Councillors, A.M’s in Welsh Government and M.P’s at Westminster. There’s no better way than actually visiting the establishments to see them in action and to speak to those involved. It was an extremely worthwhile day and all students enjoyed the trip. It was a marvellous opportunity for them to visit the House and for many of them to meet their local MP. When reflecting on the trip, the learners said the best part was meeting Owen Smith MP. He was helpful, considerate and was really interested in what they had to say. They asked an array of questions including, Why can’t you vote at 16? Does he thinkhe gets paid too much? What is the government doing about the situation in Ukraine? And What is he doing about local issues such as the development of the shopping centre in Pontypridd and establishing a 5th rugby centre in Pontypridd”.

To conclude their visit they experienced some of London’s famous attractions including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and many more. All learners commented that the experience improved the interest in politics.

Learners celebrate success at ‘Red carpet’ event

Coleg y Cymoedd is set to offer a unique course aimed at caterers to encourage cooking that is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

An exciting new part time course has been specially developed for caterers to study the art of vegetarian cookery. Endorsed by vegetarian and vegan Campaigning Charity Viva!, the course is designed to encourage individual talent and creativity in this specialist area of cookery.

Professional caterers looking to experiment with vegetarian and vegan cuisine will learn different dietary requirements for health ethics and religion, enhanced creativity with colours and flavours to create exciting dishes, the art of creating simple dishes inexpensively, and reflection on current food trends with ideas that are fresh and original.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s fantastic catering facilities, and having a qualified Chef/Nutritionist and practicing vegan as Course Facilitator, put it in the prime position to promote and deliver vegan cuisine.

The course is set to put Wales on the map for healthy eating and inclusiveness of a huge variety of different tastes and preferences.

Course Coordinator Valerie Smith said: “I am very excited to get this programme off the ground; it will be fantastic to increase the options available for Vegans, vegetarians and people with Celiac disease in the local area by training increasing numbers of caterers.”

This exciting course will be offered at the Nantgarw campus of Coleg y Cymoedd and will run from 23rd September 2014 for six weeks on Tuesday evenings between 5pm and 8pm. The cost per person is £215. For more details please contact Client Services & Business Enterprise on 01443 663024

‘Inspiring’ Rhondda woman is named Lecturer of the Year

A Coleg y Cymoedd Electronics and Engineering tutor has scooped the ColegauCymru Research Student of the Year award at a recent ceremony at Cardiff City Hall.

Nicola Regan from Cardiff was nominated for the award for achieving the highest graded research dissertation in her cohort on the MA Leadership and Management, a prestigious course awarded by the University of South Wales and part funded by ColegauCymru.

Nicola completed her dissertation on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship and how this can be embedded into the culture and curriculum of the college. This included a lot of research in the interesting and sensitive topic of sustainability in education and the workplace, interviewing colleagues and people in other colleges and the private sector.

Nicola juggled the MA programme and her teaching post around starting a family. The programme should have taken three years via blended learning, but Nicola took a year out for maternity leave before continuing her studies via weekend tutorials and online contact with her tutor. Nicola’s four year old daughter even joined her in receiving her award at the ceremony.

“The course took a lot of hard work but I really enjoyed it. I have learnt so much and it has been really beneficial to my teaching. I would recommend people to do it. I still want to keep learning, the MA has inspired me to keep going forward!”

Nicola, who has worked for the college for thirteen years, was also required to deliver a presentation summarising her dissertation at a conference at the University of South Wales, demonstrating best practice to future students on this professional course.

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Nicola is an excellent example of how motivated our staff are to continue their professional development and therefore deliver the best quality teaching to our learners. Nicola’s ability to complete her studies to such a high standard around the commitments of work and family are really inspiring. She thoroughly deserves this award for all of her hard work.”

Coleg y Cymoedd achieves ‘Gold’ Travel Plan Award

Two sets of winners have been congratulated for wowing judges to take first prize in the annual Coleg y Cymoedd Athena Learning Centre World Poetry Competition.

The students on the Learning for Life and Leisure course submitted their poem based on the theme of Love. The poem was constructed using ideas from the whole group that they gathered as part of a wider Hobby Skills Art and Design Project. The project was on the elements of the world, the 5th element being love, and inspired the learners for the poetry competition.

The winners included Axl Fisher, Luke Morris, Rhys Evans, Sam Thomas, Vaughan Cook, Sarah Greenslade and Rhiannon Morris. The learners were congratulated by staff and fellow students and each received a prize.

Also congratulated was winner of the Adult learner category John Wood, Learning Support assistant at the Ystrad Mynach campus, for this thoughtful poem ‘Educating Peter’ (below).

Athena Learning Centre Coordinator Pauline Thomas said: “We are extremely proud of both John and the learners for both taking part and winning the competition. They really enjoyed the whole experience and the poetry they produced was lovely”.


Love by Axl Fisher, Luke Morris, Rhys Evans, Sam Thomas, Vaughan Cook, Sarah Greenslade, Rhiannon Morris

Love is passion

A special connection between 2 beings.

Love inspires compassion,

Love is unique, all encompassing, the strongest thing in the universe; stronger than the atom; more powerful than the gods.

Love is the creation of this Earth.

Love is a link in the chain of Life that can never be broken.



Educating Peter by John Wood

Read to me

from one book on the shelf

but teach me to read

and I can read them all for myself.


Write to me

asking justice for all

but teach me to write

and I can answer your call.


Sing to me

of peace, lasting and true

but teach me to sing

and I can sing it with you.


Dance for me

with your arms open wide

but teach me to dance

and I can be there at your side.


So do all of this

and live happy and free

but show me the way

and you will teach me.

Learners swap their classroom for the countryside

A young mum from Llantrisant has been awarded for her outstanding commitment to her studies while balancing a busy family life.

Victoria Windsor, who has just completed a Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies, was named Coleg y Cymoedd learner of the year at the annual UHOVI (Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute) Learner of the Year awards, held on Wednesday 18th June at Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil.

When she started the course at the college’s Rhondda campus, Victoria lacked confidence in her academic ability, but instantly impressed her tutors with her professional attitude to her studies. She was nominated by Shan Bowen and Helen Morgan, who described her as a highly motivated student who uses her wealth of childcare experience to good effect.

They added: “Victoria has excelled in the employment experience element of the course, demonstrating a genuine desire to support children’s development. Her personal attitude and contribution make her a positive role model for all childcare practitioners.”

Victoria, who hopes to become a qualified primary school teacher, added: “Winning this award was a complete surprise but I’m so happy that my tutors have believed in me. Becoming a teacher was always something I’d wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure I could. Going to college has helped me get closer to achieving my dream, and all the hard work is definitely proving to be worth it!”

The hosts of the event were Heart FM’s Jagger and Woody, with special guest Dr Rhys Jones presenting the awards. As a scientist and TV presenter, Dr Rhys is best known for his hit series Rhys to the Rescue and Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol. He is a leading herpetologist (snake specialist) and has a degree in Zoology and Genetics, along with a PhD in British reptile conservation.

Part of the University of South Wales, UHOVI provides opportunities to study higher education courses at venues across the Valleys region. Working in partnership with further education colleges, businesses, local authorities and work based learning providers, UHOVI is inspiring people to continue or return to education in order to improve their skills or gain a qualification.

University of South Wales Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Director of UHOVI Graham Rogers said: “UHOVI has gone from strength to strength, providing a first class learning experience for students and working with communities to raise aspirations. The award winning students are truly inspirational and it is a privilege to be able to share their stories which demonstrate how learning can make a positive difference to the lives of individuals and their families.”

Dr Rhys Jones, who presented the awards during the evening, added: “I am delighted to be able to recognise the achievements of these outstanding individuals. Their hard work and dedication is of great credit to them, their tutors and their proud families who have supported them along their academic journey. I wish them every success in their future careers.”

Talented A Level student sings her way to success

After months of planning, learners on the Aberdare campus celebrated their success at a glitzy ‘Red Carpet’ event, earlier this month.

Course Tutor Karen Fenn, welcomed the learners, staff and guests and explained how the event came to fruition.

At the start of the academic year learners studying on Hair & Beauty courses at Aberdare campus worked as a group on their Enterprise unit of their Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification; undertaking research on room utilisation. Their findings culminated in the idea of event hire – hence the inspiration for a Proms Night, where each learner would be recognised for their work.

The first awards of the evening were presented by tutor Hayley Broom who congratulated the learners on the work they have undertaken throughout the year and also the displays exhibited during the event. She stressed how some of the learners had overcome difficulties to achieve the grades and encouraged them to keep up the good work. In third place was Natasha Malpas, second place Tiffany Evans and Student of the Year Level One – Kelly Dempsey. Level One learners Chloe Y. Jones and Melissa Scacia thanked all their tutors for the skills they had taught them, with a special mention for Sam Roach, who unfortunately was unable to attend.

Receiving awards for Level Two were, in third place – Jodie Davies for her outstanding overall knowledge of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification, Second place – Sarah Edevane for her determination in completing the qualification and Student of the Year Level Two – Laura Williamson, who ‘has the potential to go a long way in the industry’.

Before presenting the Beauty Awards, tutor Denise Williams complimented the learners on their outfits and emphasised what a difficult decision it had been to choose the award winners; third place was awarded to Shauna Maudy, second to Stephanie Phillips and Student of the Year to Hannah Darch – who had worked hard and persevered to complete the qualification. She also contributed to external activities and was always smiling! Sarah Stone and Angharad Vaughan, Level 2 learners thanked Karen Fenn and Pam Wilson for their support throughout the year.

Members of staff from various departments were thanked for their attendance and involvement in the Proms, Hospitality & Catering learners for providing refreshments and the DJ for supplying the evenings disco.


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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