Vocational learners on the path to success

Coleg y Cymoedd celebrates the success of learners achieving a broad variety of vocational qualifications, as they progress to university and employment.

The college offers the widest choice of vocational courses in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf across its four campuses and is celebrating the huge numbers of learners securing top grades and reaching university or securing employment.

Notable results include 19 year old Bethan Whittaker from Blackwood who achieved a Triple Distinction* profile in BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and has a confirmed place at Cardiff Metropolitan University to study a degree in Sport Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage. Bethan even secured an Undergraduate Sport Scholarship Award, designed for Students that excel in Sport.

Bethan said “I’m ecstatic with my results. College has given me the freedom I needed but also a lot of support and opportunities, in helping me achieve my goals of attending university. My tutors were really supportive the whole way through my course, especially by getting me back on the road to success after my neck injury; I don’t think it would have done it without them!”

Alicia Quarterly (19) from Ystrad Mynach secured the top grade profile of Triple Distinction* in BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health & Social Care and will progress to Cardiff University to train to become a Nurse.

Alicia said: “After failing my AS levels I never thought I’d get to go to university to complete a nursing degree to get my dream job. However, Coleg y Cymoedd has given me the opportunity to be able to do this. I am overjoyed that I have completed the BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care course with the overall grade of D*D*D. My tutors were very helpful and have supported me all the way through the course!”

18 year old Rhiannon Brawn from Risca will also advance to Cardiff University to study Marketing, after achieving Triple Distinction* in Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in Business and receiving offers from all of her UCAS university choices.

Rhiannon said “I’m thrilled with the results I achieved through the course I took. I am grateful for the support I received from my tutors that allowed me to achieve the grades I wanted. My confidence and self-belief has grown massively through this course which contributed to me applying for university and has allowed me to continue my chosen field of study. At the start of the course I wasn’t even considering going to university but through the support and encouragement of my tutors I have been accepted into my first choice university. I couldn’t have done this without the willingness of my tutors to accept me on the course despite my physical limitations and challenges. I am proud to say I was a part of Coleg y Cymoedd.”

Coleg y Cymoedd celebrates ongoing A Level success

Coleg y Cymoedd today reaffirmed its place as one of the most successful A Level Centres in the South Wales Valleys, as learners celebrate another year of outstanding results.

This year, Coleg y Cymoedd secured a 97.2 per cent pass rate at A Level, and 84 per pass rate at AS Level.

The college is celebrating a pass rate of over 72.6 per cent A*-C grades, with 12 of the college’s 27 A Level and BTEC subject areas achieving a 100 per cent pass rate, including Maths, English Language and Literature and Business.

Coleg y Cymoedd is the largest A Level provider in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf with over 500 learners receiving results today. The College offers a choice of 28 A/AS Level subjects, and operates as a partnership between the College, St David’s Catholic College Cardiff and Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School in Pontypridd.

The outstanding achievements at Coleg y Cymoedd this year included two learners securing their place at Oxbridge Universities. Andrew Williams, 18 from Ynyshir will be heading to Oxford University in September after achieving three A*’s and one A grade in Maths, further Maths, Physics and Chemistry to study Physics. Similarly, Jacob Lewis, 22 from Cardiff, is celebrating by becoming the college’s first student to secure a place at Cambridge University to study Law, after achieving four A* grades.

Jacob returned to education as a mature learner following three years working in debt management. After a breakdown in relations with his family, Jacob ended up living on friends’ sofas before eventually turning to Coleg y Cymoedd for help. The college accessed the student hardship fund to support his travel and living expenses, even putting him up in a hotel when he had nowhere else to go.

Jacob said: “I’m absolutely delighted with my results and I hope this shows Welsh students that with hard work and dedication this can be done and dreams can come true.

“I dropped out of college at 17 and got a job, but after a while I decided I wanted to go back to education. It’s been a hard fight. At the start of this year I was working 24 hours a week to support my studies and make ends meet, I was barely eating. At one point I became homeless and had to start sofa surfing. Having a permanent home with my family wasn’t an option. My daily commute to college was around three-quarters of an hour and I spent twelve hours a day in the college library as it was the only place I could study.

“I’m so incredibly grateful to the college for all they did for me. I’m the first in my family to go to university, It’s been a trying time but it has been worth it.

“I haven’t got any firm career plans for after Cambridge, but I have a sincere commitment to try and make the world a better place with the advantages that elite education will give me.”

Jacob’s marks reflect some of Wales’ most successful ever gaining 100 per cent in history A level and 100 per cent overall in Law, both coursework and examination.

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Our exceptional performance at A Level is the deserved reward of two years’ hard work by the learners and staff who support them.

“Our learners’ personal and collective successes are a demonstration of Coleg y Cymoedd’s mission to strengthen the South Wales Valleys through excellent academic provision, delivered through one of South Wales’ broadest A Level curriculums.

“On behalf of all the staff at the College, I would like to congratulate all A Level and AS learners and wish them continued success as they progress with their college studies, move on to university, or take their first steps on the career ladder.”

Coleg y Cymoedd serves more than 20,000 learners from the boroughs of Caerphilly Rhondda Cynon Taf and surrounding areas. In addition to vocational training, the College also provides the largest choice of A Levels on one site (Nantgarw) to over 500 learners. The college has 900 staff working across four campuses – Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda and Ystrad Mynach.

There are still places available for both A Level and vocational courses starting in September 2015. For more information about the courses available and how to apply visit www.cymoedd.ac.uk.

The college has set up a fundraising page for the Cymoedd Student Hardship Fund, to support learners like Jacob Lewis and Andrew Williams who have overcome significant obstacles and financial difficulty to secure places at prestigious universities. If you would like to donate to help learners such as these with university costs please visit: www.gofundme.com/Cymoeddhardship


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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