Coleg y Cymoedd call on the community to sign up to Stoptober

Coleg y Cymoedd call on the community to sign up to Stoptober and encourage their loved ones to do so as the true cost of smoking is revealed.

Ahead of the start of Stoptober on Thursday, Coleg y Cymoedd are calling on learners and staff, along with their friends and family, to sign up to the 28 day national challenge, as Stop Smoking Wales reveal the financial impact of smoking to the local community.

The financial benefits of quitting smoking are substantial and the money saved by quitting can make a real positive impact to an individual or family’s life. By quitting smoking, a typical 12-a day smoker could save around £1752 a year.

By collectively stopping smoking for a year, Rhondda Cynon Taff residents could save over £80million per year – enough to employ at least 2,500 fully qualified teachers a year.

Coleg y Cymoedd is encouraging the smoking population of the local communities of its 20,000 learners from across the Valleys, as well as the 900 staff they employ, to sign up to Stoptober on the Stop Smoking Wales website and to share their pledge with friends and family on social media.

Judith Evans, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “We are proud to work alongside Stop Smoking Wales to encourage our students, staff and the local community to collectively quit smoking for a minimum of 28 days and reap the financial and health benefits.

“It is important our communities are aware of the free service, support and advice that Stop Smoking Wales offers to those looking to quit smoking to give them the best chance to kick the habit for good.”

As well as the financial benefits, people who quit smoking will notice their health improving in a short period of time, with breathing becoming easier after 72 hours, blood circulation improving after a fortnight and after a year of being smoke-free, the risk of heart attack falling to half that of a smoker; resulting in a healthier, more energised body.

Ashley Gould, Specialty Registrar at Public Health Wales, said; “Research shows that people who manage to kick the habit for 28 days are five times more likely to quit smoking for good so we’re urging smokers to give their bodies and their bank balances a boost by signing-up to the Stoptober challenge.”

Smokers that sign up to the Wales’ biggest stop-smoking challenge will receive a starter pack to help equip them for a successful Stoptober, as well as the offer of continued support and encouragement throughout the month from Stop Smoking Wales.

Stop Smoking Wales supports quitters in Wales through face to face sessions, a telephone service and its innovative online tool at Stop Smoking Wales

Exemplary ambassador’ Zoe shortlisted for top Apprenticeship award

Zoe Batten knew university was not going to be for her. She soon realised that an Apprenticeship was the perfect answer, providing real work while learning and gaining qualifications to support her progression through her employment.

Now Zoe, 21, a Coleg y Cymoedd apprentice for British Airways Avionic Engineering, Talbot Green, is in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.

She is one of four finalists shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.

The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Zoe, lives in Cilfynydd, Pontypridd, has successfully completed a Level 3 Pathways to Apprenticeship in Engineering (Wales) at BAAE in June, achieving the highest grade in addition to a range of other qualifications. Her Apprenticeship was delivered by learning provider, Coleg y Cymoedd.

From an early stage, shy Zoe took to the role and was appointed the principal point of contact between BAAE and apprentices on her course. “This enabled me to earn the trust and respect of fellow apprentices by listening and collating feedback and professionally delivering it to BAAE,” said Zoe.

In the first year of the Apprenticeship she finished with an overall distinction and was named student of the year. During the second year, she was rotated around different areas of BAAE to provide a good understanding of the business, enabling her confidence to grow.

“In the third year, I consistently completed my work to a high standard, meeting all deadlines ahead of schedule,” added Zoe. “There’s no doubt that without the opportunity to undertake an Apprenticeship I would not be in the position I am in today.

“It has provided me with a unique experience of working in a very skilled and technical industry. It has also put me on a career path that I’m not only enjoying, but provides far more opportunities for training, development and promotion than I would have had through any other route into work.”

Brian Parcell, head of operations at BAAE, said: “Zoe has worked tirelessly for the duration of her Apprenticeship to become an exemplary ambassador not only for BAAE, but for the Apprenticeship programme in Wales.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Zoe and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.

“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”

Plaid Cymru Leader Visits Coleg y Cymoedd Campus

Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has met with two Rhondda students who have achieved their ambition of gaining a place at Oxford University.

The Assembly Member from Penygraig met with 20-year-olds Shannon Britton and Andrew Williams during a visit to the Nantgarw campus of Coleg y Cymoedd.

Shannon, who comes from Ferndale, will shortly be starting her second year of an English degree at Exeter College in Oxford. Andrew, from Ynyshir, is about to commence his first year of a Physics degree at St Hilda’s College in Oxford.

Leanne met with the two students during a visit to the state-of-the-art Nantgarw campus, where she was hosted by college Principal Judith Evans and Ian Rees, Strategic Alliance Manager for the college’s A-Level Centre.

She also took part in a Q&A session in front of a class full of A-level students, where she fielded questions about tuition fees, women in politics, Wales’ future and Plaid Cymru’s plans to improve the education system in Wales.

Ms Wood said: “I enjoyed the visit to Coleg y Cymoedd and was impressed by the modern learning environment on campus. The students who came to the Q&A session provided me with intelligent questions that demonstrated a good understanding of politics and Welsh issues. They were a credit to their parents and tutors.”

Ms Wood added: “In particular it was great to speak with Shannon and Andrew about their achievements to date, their journeys from their local communities and their plans for graduating from Oxford. They were two inspiring individuals and role models for young people in the Rhondda.

They are proof that, with hard work, determination and support, you can achieve anything. I wish them both well for the future.”

Ian Rees, Strategic Alliance Manager for Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-Level Centre said: “This was an excellent opportunity for A-Level students at the College – the next generation of voters – to put their questions to one of the main party leaders in the National Assembly for Wales, and to heighten their political awareness. We are very grateful to Leanne Wood for taking time out of her busy schedule to visit the College. We are also very proud of Shannon and Andrew’s achievements and would like to wish them all the very best in their studies at Oxford.”

Prestigious Foundation Art and Design Course transfers to Coleg y Cymoedd on its 25th anniversary

In the summer of 2016, the successful foundation course in art and design will transfer from University of South Wales Treforest to Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus.

All parties are excited to see the course return to its roots, where it developed a strong national reputation over its first fifteen years of operation. The course and its full time staff will move to purpose designed accommodation, securing continuity of the excellent provision sustained over the last 25 years.

Learners from South Wales and beyond have long benefited from invaluable experience of Foundation study in the Pontypridd area, and strong relationships with our client schools and HE providers remain central to our thinking.

The course has been a beacon of opportunity for young people in the valleys, Cardiff and beyond, encouraging progression to higher level study and careers within the creative industries. The teaching staff look forward to a period of dynamic and innovative growth, within a traditional but visionary course which prioritises student experience and learners unfolding.

Coleg y Cymoedd is proud to have the opportunity to further enhance and promote the reputation of this outstanding course of study, and to continue this unique contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of South Wales.

Judith Evans, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “We are excited to welcome the Foundation Art learners and staff to our Nantgarw Campus in September 2016. This programme will enhance the range of provision that we can offer learners, they will be taught in an outstanding new facility by very experienced FE practitioners.”

Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Helen Langton at University of South Wales said: I am delighted that we are able to cement further our strong relationship with our strategic partner Coleg y Cymoedd through the transfer of the Foundation Art course. I look forward to seeing the expansion of the course and the continued progression opportunities that this will offer the students”

Find out more about this prestigious course at

First Minister meets new rail generation

As Wales gears up for its biggest railway investment in over a century, First Minister Carwyn Jones today (17th September) met some of the new generation of high-skilled workers who will keep the industry on track.

Over the next five years Network Rail, with support from Welsh Government, will spend more than £1 billion modernising the rail system which will need a steady flow of well trained staff as it moves into its new era.

The First Minister met some of those who will fill these key roles when he visited Coleg y Cymoedd at Nantgarw to formally open Wales’ first specialist training facility for rail engineers.

The visit was an opportunity to see first-hand how the £1.54 million Welsh Government investment into Coleg y Cymoedd’s £3.08 million rail engineering facility has provided Welsh learners with a state-of-the-art indoor learning centre, full scale outdoor replica railway track and specialist training facilities for overhead line electrification engineering.

During his visit, the First Minister presented the first 20 learners to complete the course with certificates. The first cohort will now embark on a year in full time guided learning with McGinley Support Services, the contractor on site at the college jointly delivering the rail engineering apprenticeship.

Speaking at the opening of the facility, the First Minister said: “Modernisation of our existing rail system will bring huge benefits to Wales, but we need to make sure we have a workforce with the right skills, knowledge and experience to be at the forefront of the task in hand.

“Coleg y Cymoedd delivers first class training in a first class facility, ensuring there is a skilled workforce to deliver major improvements to Wales’ rail infrastructure. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the training and apprenticeships of so many young people and would like to wish those already enlisted on the course the best of luck with what promises to be an exciting career.”

There are now 30 full time learners and 39 railway apprentices currently on the course, who along with their predecessors will be in line to fill the hundreds of jobs created by the plans to electrify the Welsh Valley’s rail lines. Thanks to the rail facility at Coleg y Cymoedd, aspiring rail engineers from South Wales will now have access to the most up-to-date facilities to train in the industry.

Speaking at the official opening of the rail facility principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, Judith Evans, said, “We’re thrilled that the First Minister has visited the college today to officially open our rail centre. The facility will be at the forefront of creating skilled rail engineers, and with major rail investment programmes planned for the coming year, we hope these learners will fill a large job market in South Wales.

“We’re grateful to Welsh Government for their ongoing support and their confidence in Coleg y Cymoedd’s ability to deliver excellent education, training and career opportunities to young people.”

Coleg y Cymoedd now offers Level 1 Rail Engineering as part of its main curriculum. This programme is unique in that it offers both rail engineering and civil engineering making learning about the industry more accessible. Much like the apprenticeship, learners will be put into realistic workplace situations, gearing them up for the real environment.

Jack Capelin, age 20 from Cardiff, who was presented his certificate by the First Minister for completing the first stage of the course said, “I’ve gained a lot of skills from the apprenticeship both on the track and in the learning centre. Now I’m starting my year of guided learning with McGinley where I’ll hopefully put these skills to use and gain even more real work experience.

Learner experiences life in government during prestigious internship

A learner from Rhondda Cynon Taf has become one of only 80 young people from across the UK chosen to take part in a prestigious government internship.

Charlotte Bailey, 17, from Treorchy, an AS Level learner at Coleg y Cymoedd, was hand-picked from more than 200 applicants to gain a place on the Whitehall Internship Programme in London. The internship gives young people the opportunity to work across various government departments including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.

Following a rigorous application process, Charlotte was chosen to work at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a fortnight. During her time there, she had the opportunity to use her foreign language skills to communicate with the Spanish Embassy. What’s more, Charlotte saw her work travel internationally, including her contribution towards a scheme to improve bilateral relations between Britain and Portugal across energy, climate and security issues, which has been sent to the Portuguese Embassy in Lisbon.

Charlotte, who has just completed her AS Levels at Coleg y Cymoedd, said of the internship: “It was great to see the value of my work and I really enjoyed the variety in this job; there was never a dull moment.

“One morning I’d be working on a project related to the Greek economic climate, and in the afternoon I’d be assisting with the organisation of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta!”

The Civil Service Whitehall Internship Programme is a fully-funded, two-week scheme aiming to raise career aspirations and provide young people with skills and experiences for future employment. Interns have the opportunity to work alongside ministers and senior civil servants.

Following the internship, Charlotte is considering a career in the diplomatic service, and has her sights set on furthering her education at top US universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale, as well as considering St. Andrews in the UK.

Ian Rees, Head of Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-Level Centre, spoke of Charlotte’s achievement: “We are incredibly proud of Charlotte for gaining a place on the prestigious Whitehall Internship Programme. She is a great example of the hard-working learners here at the college and her achievement showcases the extra-curricular activities we encourage that make such a difference when it comes to applying for university places.

“We very much hope that this experience leads to further success in her future career.”

Inspirational learner highly commended by the Association of Colleges

Learner Jacob Lewis is overjoyed this week after seeing his hard work and determination recognised when being highly commended by the Association of Colleges (AoC) in the Student of the Year Awards 2015.

The 22 year old from Cardiff has turned his life and prospects around by overcoming many barriers to learning through his own diligence and commitment and with the help and support of staff at Coleg y Cymoedd. Jacob is now heading to Cambridge University to study Law after achieving four A* Grades in his A-Levels.

The AoC judging panel was overwhelmed by the variety of applications and the extent of the success of the learners, whether in college work or extra-curricular activities and therefore decided to introduce an additional ‘Highly Commended’ category, which Jacob was chosen to receive. The judges were impressed by his success in his A-Levels despite the adversity he has faced and felt that this needed to be recognised.

The AoC Student of the Year award celebrates the achievements and successes of exceptional students who stand out from the crowd. The purpose of the award is to recognise and reward those students who have achieved significantly above and beyond expectations.

On hearing he had received recognition from the AoC, Jacob said: “I am delighted that the AoC have recognised my academic achievements this year, but I would like to give the chief credit to staff at Coleg y Cymoedd, who offered me tremendous support with my work and with my challenging personal circumstances, and without whom I would never have achieved as much as I have.”

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.

President of the AoC, John Widdowson, who led the judging panel, said: “As a College Principal, I know that students across the country are committed to working hard to achieve success. Jacob has shown the positive impact further education can have and is a true inspiration to us all.”

Nominator Ian Rees, Strategic Alliance Manager for the A-Level programme at Nantgarw, said: “Jacob’s feat of achieving 4 A*s in his A-Levels is outstanding by any standards and is genuinely inspirational to others. As the College’s first ever successful Cambridge entrant, he will act as a role model to students in the College who come after him, who will look at what he has achieved and hopefully believe they can emulate his success. On behalf of all staff at Coleg y Cymoedd, I would like to wish Jacob every success with his Law degree and in his subsequent career.”

Jacob was among the 430 learners to sit A Level exams at Coleg y Cymoedd’s dedicated A-Level Centre; part of the new £40 million Nantgarw campus which opened in September 2012.


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

  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
  • Associate
Link takes you to our YouTube page Link takes you to our Instagram page Accessibility
Make! 2 Staff / Student Access News and Blogs ALN