Cymoedd footballers score international games

Three talented Coleg y Cymoedd footballers will be playing on the international field after being selected to represent their country.

Players Joseph Evans, Joshua Maksimovic and Samuel Jones have been selected to represent Wales Colleges and Schools in the competitive international campaign.

Joseph and Joshua, who study Level 3 Sport, and Samuel, who studies A levels, will be competing against all the home nations travelling to Scotland and Northern Ireland to compete in the Centenary Shield alongside players from across Wales.

Josh has been selected to participate in the prestigious Roma Caput Mundi competition involving international teams from across Europe that Joe played in last year.

Joseph (18 from Beddau) plays Centre Back, Joshua (17 from Llantwit Fardre) plays Centre Forward and Samuel (18 from Pontypridd) plays on the Wing for the Coleg y Cymoedd Nantgarw Football first team.

Alongside the college football academy all three learners play for Cambrian & Clydach Football Club for the firsts and the Youth team with Joshua and Samuel also having been selected for the FAW Academy team.

Sport tutor on the football pathway Al Lewis said: “All the coaching staff are delighted with these honours. They are the product of lots of hard work and great attitude by the boys who have fully committed to the college football programme.”

Winger Samuel Jones said: “Coleg y Cymoedd has given me great opportunities. I really enjoy playing for the team as the standard is high and it’s a fantastic team atmosphere. I was really surprised to be chosen to play for Wales Colleges and Schools in this competition abroad and am really looking forward to the experience.”  

The Sports Academy at Coleg y Cymoedd allows learners to split their time between working towards relevant qualifications and improving their skills on the field. The college has also recently launched an Elite Female Football Academy with the Football Association of Wales based at the Ystrad Mynach campus.

Find out about Coleg y Cymoedd sport courses here:

Society celebrate life of Caerphilly comic in posthumous birthday meal

Laughter was the main course last week at a unique meal celebrating the life and legacy of a certain Caerphilly-born, fez-wearing comic.

The Tommy Cooper Society marked what would have been the great comedy magicians 95th birthday in an open lunch at the Scholar’s Restaurant, Coleg y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach Campus.

Around twenty members from across Caerphilly, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare attended the meal, which included fez wearing waiters, storytelling and specially made fez cake.

The society have held similar commemorative lunches since 2004 and a founding member, Cllr Elizabeth Aldworth, of Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen ward, was tasked with cutting the cake.

Current society chairman Tudor Jones was one of the committed fans who founded the society in Tommy’s name in 2003, with the ambition of erecting a statue of the comedian in his home town.

Speaking about the universal appeal of the comic, he said: “I think he was one of the great comedians and he is still very much loved today.

“He was an icon of how to do comedy and magic and was very clever and competent despite his act being based around the impression of incompetence.”

He added: “He wielded a type of family humor that everyone could identify with and as a society we want to perpetuate that kind of spirit.

 “As Caerphilly residents we should all blow the trumpet for him and now the statue of him is one of the symbols of the town alongside Caerphilly Castle.”

Tommy was born in Caerphilly, at 19 Llwyn-On Street, Energlyn in 1921 and was eventually immortalised in 2008 in a statue unveiled by society patron and Hollywood actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins in 2008.

To celebrate the eighth anniversary of the unveiling, committee member Margaret Jones showcased the veil signed by Sir Anthony Hopkins, chronicling the humorous “technical glitches” on that fateful day.

As part of the festivities, members read a letter from Tommy’s daughter Vicky Cooper and announced an award in memory of former society chairman and Caerphilly mayor, Cllr Angus Donaldson, who died in 2014.

Tommy Cooper became a household hold name for his trademark silly jokes and magic tricks and collapsed and died of a heart attack on stage during a live broadcast, watched by millions, in 1984.

In recent years, the fez wearing society have continued his legacy with the “Tommy’s Ticker” campaign, placing defibrillators in public places, including the Twyn Centre, Caerphilly Library and Caerphilly Castle.

Thinking of the future, the society hope to launch a Caerphilly-based magic festival in Tommy’s memory.

Mr Jones added: “We’re constantly trying to encourage youngsters to take part in the society and would like more people to enter the performing arts.

“The Magic Circle expressed interest in helping us with this and hopefully one day we can have a ‘Tommy Cooper Magic Festival’ in the place where he was born.”

The Society continue to hold the annual event to celebrate Tommy Cooper’s birthday at the Scholar’s Restaurant at the Ystrad Mynach Campus of Coleg y Cymoedd, where they are served a luxurious three course lunch run cooked by catering learners. Book a table at Scholars Restaurant at:  

Welsh apprentice plumber turns the heat up on national rivals

Staff and apprentices at Coleg y Cymoedd’s plumbing department are celebrating, as one of their own battles for the title of the UK’s top plumbing apprentice for the third year running.

Scott Fuller, a third year plumbing apprentice studying at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus, fended off rivals from across the country to become one of only two Welsh representatives at Heating Engineers Installers & Plumbers magazine’s Apprentice of the Year UK final. 

The Welsh final saw Scott, 20, from New Tredegar, competing against apprentices from eleven other colleges. During an intense six-hour contest each competitor tackled the challenge of installing a combination boiler and two radiators against the clock; Ultimately Scott’s technical skills and attention to detail earned him a place to fight for the title of the UK’s top plumbing apprentice.   

Following his success at the event, held at Coleg y Cymoedd, Scott will now go on to represent his country at the two-day UK grand final, at ADEY’s state of the art training facilities in Cheltenham on 27th and 28th of April 2016.  

Speaking of his victory and the upcoming finals, Scott said: “It was fantastic to win the Welsh for the last two years, but to make the UK final for a third year running is amazing. I feel confident for the national finals this year as I know what to expect and the level of work that is required.

My tutors have been brilliant, they have continually built my confidence and improved my skills significantly over the last year, and even offered me an apprenticeship. The UK finals will, of course, be a challenge again but I hope it will lead me to gaining further skills and experience I need for a successful future in the plumbing industry.”

Scott’s Plumbing tutor Lee Perry said: “For Scott to win the regional event for the last two years was an excellent achievement, but for him make it to the UK final for a third year running shows Scott’s commitment, enthusiasm and determination to become an excellent engineer. Scott throughout the year has improved in all aspects of the trade.”

As a Level 3 learner and apprentice, Scott’s time is split between college based learning at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus, and his apprenticeship with Perry Plumbing Solutions.

Commenting on Scott’s success, Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Scott is a credit to our college; he exemplifies how hard work and dedicated tuition provide learners with excellent vocational opportunities and real jobs in a diverse range of industries and recognised trades. We wish him every success at the nationals”.

Oxford offer on the table for Cymoedd learner

A Learner from the Valleys has just been told he has a place at Oxford University next year following the completion of his A-levels this summer. 

Kristian Hallett, 18, a Cardinal Newman Catholic School student from Ystrad Mynach, is currently studying at Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-level centre in Nantgarw, which operates in close partnership with Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Pontypridd.

He first set his sights on a place at the prestigious university last year, when he and four of his classmates were invited to attend Oxford’s sought after summer school programme.

During that week Kristian was given the chance to experience what life as a student at Oxford had to offer and spent his time attending lectures, seminars, workshops and social life at the university.   

Shortly after he returned from his visit, Kristian learned that he had excelled at AS-level, scoring 100 percent in his History exam. At that point he made the decision to apply to Oxford.    

Kristian is currently studying for his exams in psychology, history, English language and literature at Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-level centre, which is based at its Nantgarw campus.

Kristian has now received a conditional offer to study Ancient and Modern History at the University of Oxford’s Regent’s Park College. Talking about his plans for the future at Oxford, Kristian said: “I’d never considered Oxford to be an option until I moved into the Sixth Form. My pastoral tutor encouraged me to give Oxford some serious thought and suggested I apply for the university’s summer school. It was good advice, because that week on the campus showed me that my goal was achievable. Oxford felt like a good fit for me.

“Receiving the offer took me a bit by surprise. I knew that some of the friends I’d made during my visit had received their offers, but I still hadn’t received an email. One day I came home to find a letter waiting for me, it looked like any other mail until I opened it and saw the good news.”  

Kristian will sit his A-level exams this summer, but like all students in the UK, he will need to wait until the 18th August to finally confirm his place at Oxford.        

Commenting on Kristian’s Oxford offer, Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “We are extremely proud of Kristian. Securing an offer to attend Oxford requires true dedication and hard work; we are thrilled to see that his efforts and potential have been recognised by Oxford University and we will support him all the way. 

“Learners like Kristian exemplify the talent that exists in the South Wales Valleys. As a college it is our mission to ensure that every learner in our catchment has access to the very best education, skills and training opportunities.”

Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-level centre operates as a partnership between the college, Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Pontypridd and St David’s Catholic College Cardiff, making it the largest provider of A-levels in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly.

Justin O’Sullivan, Head Teacher at Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School, said: “We are delighted that Kristian has received an offer from Oxford. He is a first-class, yet unassuming,  student who has always shown true potential, which he enhances with hard work. He deserves his wonderful results and Oxford offer. ”

Apprentice on track for dream career

National apprenticeship week (14-18 March) holds a special cause for celebration at Coleg y Cymoedd this year, as it marks the official anniversary of the announcement of the college’s multi-million pound Railway Training Centre of Excellence.

Just one year later, the £3.08 million investment to the create the college’s Nantgarw-based Rail Centre has provided top-of-the-line training facilities for over 70 learners, including many highly sought after apprenticeship places with the industry’s leading employers.

Chloe Thomas, an Arriva Trains Wales apprentice, is one of the first to benefit from the facility’s state-of-the-art indoor learning centre and full scale outdoor replica railway track.

Chloe, 18, from Barry, Cardiff, is currently studying towards her Level 3 Subsidiary in Electronic Technology. Commenting on her apprenticeship and future career plans, she said:  “Arriva Trains Wales selected Coleg y Cymoedd and my time here has been very beneficial, the facilities and teachers are great. I’m really enjoying my time here and after this two year course I’m planning to stay here for my HNC in engineering.

“The apprenticeship with Arriva Trains Wales is my first full-time job and there’s a lot to take in and learn but I’m enjoying every minute. One of the most enjoyable parts of the job is the varied nature of the work. Every day is different with another challenge to face.

“Working in such a large and successful organisation and being able to put the skills I learn into practice will hopefully give me the springboard to a long and successful career in the industry.

“I would encourage anyone considering a career in engineering to look into the rail industry because I have already found it to be a fantastic learning experience. I am looking forward to my future at Arriva.”

Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Our rail facility is designed to place our learners at the forefront of a skilled rail workforce in Wales. With major rail investment programmes underway, we hope that like Chloe, all of our learners will find that their time at the rail centre to be the springboard to highly rewarding careers in the industry.”

Since 2014 Arriva Trains Wales has recruited 12 Apprentices under the age of 24, with seven securing full-time work and the remaining five working towards qualifications in a wide range of disciplines from Engineering (HNC), ICT (Level 3 NVQ Certificate), Business Administration (Level 3 NVQ Certificate) in order to secure future employment with Wales’ leading rail operator.

Elin Thomas, Recruitment and Talent Manager for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “The recruitment of our apprentices has made a significant contribution to the future sustainability of the business, with every apprentice we have taken on over the last few years securing future employment with the business, from customer service and train planning to engineering.”

Coleg y Cymoedd supports RCT Businesses

Ten years of business success and enterprise was celebrated at the prestigious RCT Business Club Awards on Friday, March 11.

Every year for the last decade, the RCT Business Club has commended and celebrated businesses of all sizes at the awards.

And this year’s ceremony, sponsored by headline sponsor Coleg y Cymoedd, was no exception.

Attended by a range of local businesses and members of the RCT Business Club, the awards were held at Llechwen Hall, near Pontypridd.

The winners were:

  • Best New Business sponsored by Veolia – Pontus Research Ltd
  • Decade of Business Excellence sponsored by L’Oreal UKI Limited – Glamorgan Brewing Company
  • Employer of the Year sponsored by Hirwaun Power – Rocialle
  • Environmental Business of the Year sponsored by enviroparks – The Welsh Pantry
  • Excellence in Manufacturing sponsored by Renishaw  – Gwalia Healthcare Ltd
  • Excellence in Social Enterprise sponsored by RCT Homes – Friends of Ferndale The Fern Partnership
  • High Street Business sponsored by Federation of Small Businesses – Bradleys Coffee Ltd
  • Micro Business sponsored by University of South Wales – Trojan Construction Management Ltd
  • RCT Business Club Business of the Year sponsored by Coleg Y Cymoedd – Rocialle

 Cllr Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “The RCT Business Club Awards have gone from strength to strength in the last 10 years and this is largely because of the calibre of businesses that continue to open, operate and grow in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“The achievements of those who won or were finalists this evening is testament to the thriving, innovative business community we have here in the county borough.

“Each and every person who has won or was shortlisted should be proud of themselves not only for their business achievements, but also for the example they have set to others and the business inspiration they offer.

“In these current difficult economic times, where finance is a pressure and the way people do business is constantly changing, local businesses of all sizes need all the support and assistance they can get.

“RCT Business Club has provided a nurturing environment of like-minded people from a huge range of businesses and organisations, allowing members to learn from each other, guest speakers, expert workshops, networking breakfasts and more.

“The Awards are the flagship event for the RCT Business Club and mark the end of yet another successful 12 months in RCT.”

Coleg y Cymoedd filmmakers document national enterprise competition

Two learners from Coleg y Cymoedd were tasked with creating the official video for national digital enterprise competition Syniad.

The budding filmmakers presented their video to giants Google Campus and NatWest and digital companies Simply Do Ideas, Digichemistry and Yard Digital.

Harri Sutton and Owen Price, current learners on the Level 3 Creative Media Production (TV & Film) course at the colleges Nantgarw campus, undertook the project as voluntary work experience. 

The 10 minute video showcased the events of Syniad, a contest for students with a passion for all things digital, designed to give young people the opportunity to gain and develop digital enterprise and entrepreneurial skills.

The creative learners captured the teams in the initial stages of the competition, working on digital business ideas with the support of College Enterprise Champions and Simply Do Ideas and creating a business plan to put forward for selection.

Harri and Owen then went with the winning teams to the three-day final where representatives from Digichemistry then helped them design and create prototypes using Ionic View software.

The pinnacle of the short documentary was filming the entrepreneurial students taking their finished prototypes to Google Campus in London where they pitched their ideas to a panel of industry experts.

Harri Sutton, 17 from Church Village said: “The whole experience was incredible, it was a lot of pressure filming the whole competition and knowing it would be shown to so many businesses but I really enjoyed it. The staff at Coleg y Cymoedd have been so supportive in helping us find work experience opportunities in TV and film.”

Owen Price, 21 from Bedwas, added: “Filming the Syniad competition was fantastic experience for us to work on a real life brief and to such tight timescales. I am so glad I took part and this will be great on my CV when I finish my course and look for jobs in the industry.”

Craig Oats, founder of Digichemistry said: “I am very lucky that I get to work in some amazing colleges. I am so impressed with the quality of the work being done in Coleg y Cymoedd and Harri and Owen have both worked professionally and I felt like they were part of the team. ”

The overall winner of Syniad 2016 was ‘The Hub’ from Coleg Gwent – a new social app that links people based on their interests and aims to put the social back into social media. The team won £500 funding and a package of support to help get their app into apps stores across devices. ‘Shoot’, a team from St David’s College, came second with an app for sending images, text and websites from the user’s phone to all their other devices. Cardiff and Vale students came third with ‘Whizz to the Past’, a game designed to help young children gain math skills.

The video can be seen here:

Cymoedd learners best in class at Culinary Championships

Coleg y Cymoedd hospitality and catering learners have been awarded a feast of medals and ‘Best in Class’ at a national culinary competition.

A group of Coleg y Cymoedd Hospitality and Catering learners travelled to Coleg Llandrillo, North Wales to compete in this years’ Welsh International Culinary Championships & Cake Cymru competition.

The group of Level 1, 2 and 3 Catering and Hospitality learners walked away from the three-day showcase of world class chefs from across the UK with a staggering 25 medals.

The nine learners entered a number of specialised classes including Shellfish, Bistro Sandwich, Ultimate Cupcakes, Flambé dessert, and various knife skills categories.

17 year old Alys Evans from Gilfach Goch was also hand-picked to win the ‘Best in Class’, a prestigious title only awarded to a handful of competitors from across the country.

While being presented with the award Alys said: “I am so pleased to have won three medals and in particular the Best In Class award at this Culinary Championship. The college has been very supportive and I am really grateful for the amazing opportunity.”

Ryan Desmier, 17 from Pontlottyn, also entered the Welsh Skills competition in Advanced Cookery. He excelled in his 3 hour competition completing in the allotted time and producing a Fish, chicken and apple dish. Ryan gained a very reputable second place and can now be entered in the UK skills competition.

Following the competition Ryan said “The competition was a great experience and an opportunity to expand my culinary skills. The tutors were very supportive and encouraging throughout the practise sessions and competition”

Tutor Ian Presgrave added: “The Coleg y Cymoedd culinary team was established earlier this academic year. The selected learners put in hours of practise each week culminating in the North Wales Culinary Competition at Coleg Llandrillo. All learners represented the College impeccably and in return had a very successful return for their efforts.”


The full set of medals awarded to the Coleg y Cymoedd Culinary team are:

Alys Evans                  Gold & Best in class                Ultimate Cupcakes

Alys Evans                  Silver                                  Open Novelty Cake

Alys Evans                  Bronze                                 Novice Celebration Cake

Kirsty Lees                  Merit Award                          Ultimate Cupcakes

Kirsty Lees                  Merit Award                          Gateau Making

Evan Davies                 Silver                                  Bistro Sandwich

Evan Davies                 Silver                                  Knife Skills – Fruit Cuts

Evan Davies                 Silver                                  Knife Skills – Vegetable Cuts

Evan Davies                 Merit Award                          Shellfish

Rhys Martin                  Silver                                  Knife Skills – Fruit Cuts

Rhys Martin                  Silver                                  Knife Skills – Vegetable Cuts

Rhys Martin                  Merit Award                          Welsh Lamb

Rhys Hill                      Silver                                 Welsh Beef Main

Rhys Hill                      Silver                                 Knife Skills – Fruit Cuts

Rhys Hill                      Merit Award                         Knife Skills – Vegetable Cuts

Liam Williams               Silver                                 Themed Table Setting

Liam Williams               Bronze                                Napkin Folding

Liam Williams               Bronze                                Spirit of Cocktails

Hollie Horsell                Merit Award                          Open Novelty Cake

Robert Haycox              Silver                                  Flambé Dessert

Robert Haycox              Bronze                                 Flambé Main Course

Robert Haycox              Bronze                                 Napkin Folding

Ryan Desmier               SilverSkills                         Competition Wales – Advanced Professional Cookery

Tutors inspired to battle London marathon

Two Coleg y Cymoedd tutors are fundraising with their learners after signing up for the London Marathon for a cause that is important to them personally and professionally.

Vocational Access tutors Ange Fitzgerald and Craig Thomas are both running the London Marathon in April to raise money for a charity who support people with autism, learning difficulties and disabilities.

As well as training hard, the tutors have been organising fundraising efforts that their Vocational Access learners can be actively involved with. Activities have included cake sales and coffee mornings on campus which learners ran to bring in a successful profit.

The tutors and learners are raising money for a charity ‘Kith & Kids’ who provide activities, opportunities, information and support for people with a learning disability or autism, their parents and siblings.

Tutor Ange Fitzgerald said: “We’re so proud of the commitment the learners have put into the different fundraising events”

Craig Thomas said: “The learners have put a lot of time and effort into planning and preparing each event. There’s a lot of training involved but it’ll all be worth it, it’s such a worthy cause.”

Learner Meurig Gullidge, from Church Village, added: “We have enjoyed taking part in the fundraising activities. It has also helped us with our volunteer section of our Duke of Edinburgh award too.”

If you wish to donate to Ange and Craig’s fundraising efforts visit:  or 

Childcare research earns 100% success

A Coleg y Cymoedd childcare class are celebrating after receiving top grades for an externally marked research project.

The class of nine learners based at the Rhondda campus are thrilled to have received results of eight A grades and one A* grade for a challenging research project.

The 5,000 word research project aimed to investigate supporting children and young people in change and transition, where learners were expected to demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of the skills necessary to support children in a variety of settings.

The successful research project was led by the experienced Coleg y Cymoedd Level 3 Children’s Care, Learning and Development tutors and externally marked by awarding body Cache.

19 year old Ceara Harkin from Ynyshir said: “I can’t thank my tutors enough for all of the help and support, I have never achieved an A grade before this course and have never believed in myself academically. The research task was really interesting and helped me decide that this is the career I definitely want to pursue.”

Childcare tutors Kelly Tanner & Tracey Sully said: “We are extremely proud of the whole class for their achievements, they worked very hard and deserved the excellent grades that they received. We hope it will lead to further academic and career success for each of them in their chosen field of childcare.”

Alongside the research project, since commencing their course, learners have also been spending time on of appropriate work placements, in order to gain experience, planning and carrying out activities for children, and to observe children’s development.

The Level 3 Diploma for Children’s Care, Learning and Development focuses on the importance of hands on skills, supported by a theoretical element, giving learners first-hand experience of working in a range of childcare settings. Find out more at: /courses/subject-areas/care-and-childhood-studies.aspx


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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