Learners give back to ex-military personnel

Learners and staff from Coleg y Cymoedd have organised a number of fundraising events to raise a considerable contribution for a charity helping ex-service personnel.

Nineteen learners on a Level 2 IT System Support course at the Ystrad Mynach campus organised fundraising events and activities to collect donations for Soldiers Off The Street.

The group managed to fundraise £323.43 to go directly to the charity through a number of efforts including a raffle, a food stall, asking the Principal to collect donations at meetings and encouraging their tutor to grow his hair and beard for months, to then be shaved to raise money.

All of the members of the class got involved in different roles including advertising, research and managing the event rotas. The activities also count towards their Welsh Baccalaureate qualification as they are focussed on Community Participation and Enterprise.

The group of fundraisers were presented with a giant cheque for the money raised, and congratulated by both the college Principal Judith Evans and Chris Robinson, a representative from Soldiers off The Street.

25 year old Geraint Cox from Bargoed said “I really enjoyed being a part of the fundraising events and am very proud of how well it has gone. We chose Soldiers Off The Street as we wanted to collect for a small charity and some of us have family in the military. After a bit of research into relevant charities, we chose this Welsh charity based in Rhyl”.

17 year old Matthew Hewer, also from Bargoed, added: “I think that the fundraising has been beneficial with my confidence, and I feel very involved within all of the events.”

IT Tutor Ayub Shan said: “We are very proud of the learners for participating enthusiastically and raising money and awareness for the important cause. I am personally and deeply moved, by the contributions made, by both learners and staff.”

Chris Robinson a representative from Soldiers Off The Street said: “We at soldiers off the street are honoured to have been chosen as the charity by these students here at Coleg y Cymoedd and would like to thank all of you for your hard work that you put into the fundraising events and would also like to thank you for those who cannot thank you themselves, that is the ex-military personnel that we help.”

Find out more about Soldiers Off the Street, whose motto is ‘The only time you should ever look down on someone is when you are helping them up’ here: http://www.soldiersoffthestreet.org/

Female college learner finalist in regional property competition

A higher education learner at Coleg y Cymoedd was shortlisted for a regional award that celebrates Women in Property.

Tina Hinder was shortlisted to compete against six other students studying on built environment degree courses, in the regional heat of the ninth Association of Women in Property (WiP) National Student Awards.

Tina, from Bargoed, who studies the Level 4 HNC Building Technology Management at Coleg y Cymoedd, narrowly missed out on the regional award at a ceremony in Cardiff museum last week.

Tina said: I consider it an honour to have been nominated and shortlisted for this award and enjoyed the experience. I would recommend to anyone if you are ever nominated to give it a try. The people were extremely friendly and have been more than helpful in assisting me with ways to progress my career.”

Marcelle Newbold Chairman of the South Wales branch of WiP, architect at Purcell said: “These Awards challenge the nominees to really think about their future careers and the impact they as individuals might have on the built environment. The judges, who are from diverse property disciplines, were looking for someone who is a role model, as these young women are the future of the property and construction industries.”

In addition to Tina there were six other regional finalists, all of whom were nominated by their Universities. They were invited to go before a judging panel of industry experts, where they were questioned on a piece of coursework and topical industry issues. The other finalists were:-

Rhoannon Jones – BSc in City and Regional Planning – Cardiff University

Gemma Rees – BSc Project Management – University of South Wales

Rowa Senan – BEng Architectural Engineering – Cardiff University

Esra Ajaj – MEng Civil Engineering – Cardiff University

Kim Harris – HND Surveying – University of South Wales

Anna Chappell – BSc Quantity Surveying & Commercial Management – University of South Wales


The 2015 judging panel included:

Marcelle Newbold, Chairman South Wales WiP, Purcell

Leigh Hughes, Bouygues

Mike Hales, EC Harris

Jonathon Smart, DTZ

Cathy Stewart, Student Awards Co-ordinator WiP, Cathy Stewart Associates


The winner Rhiannon Jones from Cardiff University will now go through to the ‘Best of Best’ black tie dinner national final at Claridge’s in London, on 22nd September when she will compete against nine other young women from across the UK.

Business tutor for Coleg y Cymoedd shortlisted for national award

A tutor in business at Coleg y Cymoedd has been shortlisted for a national award celebrating inspiration within the education sector.

Kim Purnell, who works at the Nantgarw campus of Coleg y Cymoedd has been selected as one of three finalists at the New Directions Education Inspirational Teaching Awards.

The Inspirational Teaching Awards were set up to honour staff within the education sector who go above and beyond for their community.

The shortlist will go on to represent the area at a final in Cardiff on June 19 at the Cardiff Mercure Holland House Hotel.

On receiving the news that she had been shortlisted, Kim said: I am very honoured to be nominated for this award. I have been very fortunate to have support and encouragement from colleagues, management and the learners themselves. I look forward to meeting the other nominees and hearing their inspirational stories.”

In 2014 the ceremony was attended by more than 250 delegates, and hosted by Phil Steele, broadcaster and former school teacher.

Speaking about the shortlisting process, Gary Williams, director of business development for New Directions said: “In 2014 we had a standard of entries that I would have thought impossible to improve upon.

“I am happy to be wrong. Colleagues, parents and pupils from across the country have come together to talk about, and celebrate exceptional staff from within their schools and colleges.”

The awards had more than 150 nominations from primary, secondary, additional learning needs and further education establishments from all over the country.

This year’s award event will take place on Friday, June 19, at the Cardiff Mercure Holland House Hotel.

The evening will be hosted by broadcaster, comedian and one-time teacher at Barry Comprehensive School – Chris Corcoran.

Guests will enjoy a three-course meal and have the company of colleagues and professionals from across a breadth of organisations.


Coleg y Cymoedd learner ‘nails’ third place

Coleg y Cymoedd hosted the Skills Competition Wales challenges for Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Advanced Nails at its Nantgarw campus, welcoming learners from Coleg Cambia, Pembrokshire College, Coleg Gwent and Coleg Sir Gar.

Each skills competition has specific entry requirements including age, work experience or skill level and competitors have to complete a series of tasks to demonstrate the skills they have developed in their chosen field; skills that are essential to be successful in the workplace.

Two Cymoedd learners took part in the Advanced Nails competition which required them to create ten nail designs in a live competition environment. Nineteen year old Chloe Day from Mountain Ash secured a bronze award in the competition, producing a highly creative finished product which demonstrated her knowledge of current fashion trends and artistic nail design.

The college also entered two learners in the Reflexology competition. Again the competition focused on the essential requirements for a successful career in reflexology. The learners demonstrated their understanding of pressure techniques using the thumbs and fingers on the reflex areas of the hands and feet.

The Skills Competition Wales is funded by the Welsh Government and aims to raise the profile of skills in Wales; offering learners a chance to challenge, benchmark and raise their skills by taking part in local competitions. Competitors are then encouraged to progress and take part in WorldSkills UK competitions; with its mission to promote world-class skills and international competitiveness.

Organiser of the event at Coleg y Cymoedd, Tracey Evans, Head of School for Hair and Beauty stated “We were delighted to stage the competition at our college, it was good to observe the skills of the learners. The UK beauty industry employs around one million workers nationwide, making it one of the most lucrative industries in the country. Competitions such as this give the learners a unique experience that will prove invaluable in their future careers in the industry“.

Arsenals David Dein scores a hit with learners at Coleg y Cymoedd

Business and sport learners at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus were given an insight into the successful career of football entrepreneur and businessman David Dein.

The inspirational speaker attended the college through the Speakers for Schools charity, which gives opportunities for colleges to host talks from leading figures from a wide range of backgrounds, free of charge.

David is an eminent figure in the footballing world, having played a central role in the creation of the Premier League in 1992 and also his involvement with the Arsenal ladies Football team which has consistently been the best in the land. His wealth of experience meant that he was able to share the huge variety of sectors and job roles related to sport.

Tutor Kim Purnell said “The learners were fascinated with David’s talk and engaged with his discussion on footballing events; he also spoke about success and entrepreneurship. He made the learners feel relaxed and confident to ask their questions – he is certainly inspirational and I’m sure someone who the learners will remember”.

We welcomed the opportunity to engage with Speakers for Schools and value the influence such activities have on our learners, helping them to become more confident, determined and ambitious. It has also been of value to our staff who also participated in the event”.

Stephen Stecker (20) from Pontypridd enjoyed the talk stating “ I enjoy football and was looking forward to David’s talk as he such a well- known figure, especially at Arsenal as the club has, and continues to achieve success. But he also spoke about ambition and drive and ‘going for it’ if you really want something – he was excellent”.

The S4S speakers are public leaders, experts and influential individuals who donate their time and expertise each year to give talks in a school or college, to inspire the learners with invaluable insights, perspectives and interesting information.

Coleg y Cymoedd learners experience ‘Student life’ at Oxford

Five Coleg y Cymoedd learners have been successful in gaining a place on the prestigious UNIQ programme at Oxford University.

AS Level learners Charlotte Bailey (16 from Treorchy), Hannah Bezant (17 from Taffs Well), Kristian Hallett (17 from Ystrad Mynach) Jessica Paige Thomas (17 from Pencoed), and Naomi Thomas (17 from Merthyr Tydfil) are delighted to have been selected for one of the places against fierce competition from a large number of applicants.

The learners will spend a week living at Oxford University; attending lectures, seminars and workshops about applying to Oxford. The five Coleg y Cymoedd learners, three of whom are from Cardinal Newman Catholic School, will also have the chance to enjoy a variety of social activities included in the programme.

The programme aims to give learners a realistic view of Oxford student life, with preference given to applicants who come from schools and areas with little or no history of successful application to Oxford. The UNIQ summer schools are an access programme, which are open to learners studying in their first year of A Levels.

To secure their place, the learners were asked to submit personal statements outlining their interest in their chosen course and their reasons for attending UNIQ. Staff members at the college were also approached to endorse the learner applications. Leaners had to give different course preferences and all five learners managed to secure their first preference. Charlotte will be attending the French course, Kristian secured a place on Ancient History and Archaeology while Hannah will sample Biochemistry.

Naomi Thomas from Merthyr Tydfil, who secured a place on the Biomedical Sciences course, said, “It is such a privilege to attend the UNIQ summer school. I never thought Oxford was even an option for me but the staff at the college made me realise my full potential and being accepted onto the summer school has brought me one step closer. I’m studying Biology at A Level and am really interested in this field and so Biomedical Sciences was an ideal course for me to do at the summer school. This is an amazing opportunity and I am really looking forward to it”.

Jessica Paige Thomas from Pencoed, who will be attending the Maths Codes and Numbers course, said, “I am really chuffed to get on to the Maths Codes and Numbers course as only twenty percent of people get accepted. I have my sights set on Oxford so this is a great step in the right direction for me.”

Congratulating the learners, Strategic Alliance Manager, Ian Rees, stated, “I am delighted that these five AS learners have secured a place on this year’s UNIQ summer school at Oxford University. Opportunities such as this are invaluable in providing an insight into university life at one of the UK’s most prestigious institutions.

At Coleg y Cymoedd, we are proud of the choice of A Levels we offer, together with the excellent teaching and support from staff. Given the level of motivation of these learners, we are very much hoping they will follow in the footsteps of one of our learners, who this year became our first learner to secure a place at Oxford to read English, and three other learners currently completing A-Levels with us, who hold conditional offers for Oxford or Cambridge for 2015.”

Captain applauds Coleg y Cymoedd learners

Coleg y Cymoedd learners were given the opportunity to cater for some of the most high ranking army commanders of the 104th Regiment Royal Artillery.

The college was approached to provide the hospitality at the Raglan Army Barracks where army officers from across Wales would celebrate the St. David’s Day Captain’s Dinner.

The twelve Level 1, 2 and 3 Hospitality & Catering learners from the Ystrad Mynach and Nantgarw campuses; accompanied by their tutors were involved in all aspects of the function; including Commis Chefs, Wine waiters, Silver Servers and hosts.

Kirsty Pearson, Hospitality & Catering tutor said “We were honoured to be invited to take part in such a high profile event; our learners were a credit to the college, they were extremely professional. This event provided valuable work experience to improve their practical food and beverage skills and gain experience of a high profile event. Two learners gained valuable work experience working alongside the Master at Arms fulfilling Commis Chef duties prior and during service and the remaining learners provided Silver Service to a 5 course dinner along with the service of wine and port.

The event was a huge success and the staff and learners received many positive comments, including that of the Captain when he stated ‘our learners were better than the company they usually use’! To acknowledge their excellent service the learners were given an appreciative round of applause from the guests and as a result, the learners have been asked to attend future events.”

Learner Robert Haycox, (17), from Ferndale who took part in the event is currently studying on the Level 2 NVQ professional Cookery course at the Nantgarw campus.

Robert said “ My tutor Mr Emery asked me if I wanted to work at this event, as it was a Saturday night. I’m so glad that I did as I learnt so much; I was nervous to start but with the support of staff and colleagues enjoyed the ‘waitering’ and the overall experience of serving the guests.

We all worked as a team and the Colonel was pleased with the service we provided. It was really nice when the guests applauded us at the end of the night. I’ll certainly attend any other events we are invited to”.

Coleg y Cymoedd has an excellent reputation for catering and hospitality with learners trained to the highest standards by our professional team. The College has three training restaurants that are run jointly by staff and learners and open to the public to use – Llewellyns Restaurant, Aberdare Campus, Nant Restaurant, Nantgarw Campus and Scholars Restaurant, Ystrad Mynach Campus.

Find opening times for the restaurants at: /about-us/facilities.aspx#1324

View the Nant Restaurant on Trip Advisor: http://bit.ly/1IPsema

College crowned rugby champions

Coleg y Cymoedd’s learners and staff are celebrating as their college’s under 18s squad triumph over longstanding rivals Coleg Sir Gar to become the 2015 WRU Rugby Colleges champions.

The close-run battle between the two college squads at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was the third successive final to see both teams face each other.

In a game that went the distance, supporters of both teams were kept on the edge of their seats, before the final whistle saw Coleg y Cymoedd hold passion against the reigning champions to win thirteen points to three.

The win marks Coleg y Cymoedd’s most successful season since its formation in 2013, following the merger between Coleg Morgannwg and Ystrad Mynach College. In addition to reaching the finals at the Millennium Stadium, the team won the British Colleges Premier League Final, becoming the first Welsh side to achieve this accolade. The college’s second team also secured a place at the finals of the British Colleges Cup.

Commenting on the win and the outstanding performance of the squad to date, Clive Jones, director of rugby at Coleg y Cymoedd, said:

“2014-15 has been another successful season for the rugby programme. Reaching three finals this season is even an improvement on last year’s two finals. Finally overcoming our arch rivals Coleg Sir Gar is the icing on the cake.

“The boys’ commitment and preparation was outstanding. This dedication has been reflected by national selection for the under 18s for six of the squad and for the under 20s for four players. The college’s seconds have also reaped their just rewards with a place in the British Colleges 2nds Cup.”

One Coleg y Cymoedd learner to secure a place with Wales’ national under 18s squad is 18 year-old Calum Haggett from Tonyrefail who has been captain of the national side for this season.

While playing for Wales and the Cardiff Blues, Calum attends Coleg y Cymoedd where he studies Maths, Biology and Physics and trains and plays with the College’s Rugby Academy.

At the College Rugby Academy Calum receives expert rugby tuition, rugby analysis and strength & conditioning to help maximise his rugby potential. However, the College Academy also ensures that rugby learners are prepared academically should a career in rugby not materialise.

Clive Jones continued to say, As pleasing as it is to reach three finals, it is even more special to see Calum secure a conditional offer from Oxford University. It shows that the programme is working both on and off the field. We place great store on working with these boys to develop qualities and values that will help them succeed in their futures, be it in education, employment or professional rugby.”


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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