Coleg y Cymoedd achieves bronze level in Young Carers College Award

Coleg y Cymoedd staff at the Aberdare Campus have led the way in the FE sector achieving the Bronze Level Certificate in the Young Carers College Award; designed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Carers Support project.

In a 2011 Census, there were over 29,000 adult carers within Rhondda Cynon Taf, including young carers, aged 18-25 years. These young people help look after a family member, a friend or neighbour, who without their help would not manage, due to illness, age or disability.

Many of these young people give up on education and training, feeling they cannot cope with the additional pressures of studying; as they may not want to inform their tutor of their ‘caring’ role.

The college, with campuses in Rhondda, Cynon, Taf and Caerphilly recognised the problems young carers may encounter whilst studying at the college and decided to act upon it; with Aberdare Campus spearheading the project.

Working with Kerris Olsen-Jones, Young Adult Carer Development Worker at Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, the campus set up several processes including step-by-step guidance, practical tools and training opportunities to support learners who have caring responsibilities.

All staff working on the Aberdare campus have recognised the value of the training and supported the project wholeheartedly. To achieve the Bronze Award, the campus needed to evidence a dedication towards identifying young carers and supporting them as a group of vulnerable learners.

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd which received a Bronze Award, said: “We are delighted to have won a Bronze award for our work with young carer learners on the Aberdare Campus. We want all our learners to be able to participate fully in their education, including those with caring responsibilities. The Young Carers College Award, designed by RCT Carers Support project has certainly raised our awareness and helped all our staff to understand the signs that a learner may be a young carer, and the ways in which we can support them; signposting them to the appropriate support. The project is now being replicated at all our campuses.”

Kerris Olsen-Jones, stated: “We were delighted to present Laura Wilson, Welfare Officer at the Aberdare campus with the Bronze Level Certificate. Laura and her colleagues have done so much to help the young carers studying at the campus.

Colleges and schools play a vital role in a young carer’s life, but many care for relatives without the staff even knowing what they do. This is why the Support project is so important in helping both academic and support staff to identify and refer young carers on to the Support project; the support they receive can have a huge impact on their learning, wellbeing and life chances.”

The project is already making a considerable difference to young carers’ lives and helps to ensure that Coleg y Cymoedd is seen as a supportive environment. The continued partnership between the college and the Local Authority to roll out this project at all campuses, will hopefully encourage more learners to identify themselves as carers and receive appropriate support; to achieve their full potential in life, whatever their career path.

Coleg y Cymoedd makes the grade with GCSE re-sit success

Following A Level Results Day last week Coleg y Cymoedd is now celebrating excellent exam results at GCSE level.

This year, the college is delighted to secure an overall 99 per cent pass rate at GCSE for both Maths and English.

In English, the A*-C pass rate rose by 6%, while for Higher Tier Maths students, the A*-C percentage increased by 7%, taking both pass rates above the national average.

With over 350 learners receiving their GCSE results today, Coleg y Cymoedd is playing an important part in supporting leaners with re-sits to aid their future progression.

Noteworthy results include Peter Burridge, from Taffs Well, who achieved a Grade B in Higher Tier GCSE Maths at the age of 78.

Peter returned to education last year to undertake a pre-GCSE to help his grandchildren with their Maths homework, and enjoyed the subject so much that he returned to re-take his Maths GCSE.

After a career in engineering that included managing apprenticeships, and starting working life as an apprentice himself, Peter is now planning to volunteer mentoring younger students through their qualifications.

Peter said “Returning to education was like someone had thrown me a lifeline, I can’t recommend it any more to people of any age who are looking for a new challenge or to improve their skills. The tutors were really lovely and the teaching quality was excellent.”

“I never expected to get a grade B,” Peter added, “But I have found that I really enjoy the subject and am looking forward to mentoring others and helping my grandson and granddaughter with their schoolwork.”

Meanwhile, ESOL student, Anastasija Smetankina, achieved a highly creditable B Grade after learning English from scratch and is now progressing to university and Cheryl Jones, a part-time evening learner, achieved an excellent A* in Maths.

Principal, Judith Evans, said: “‘We are delighted with what our learners have achieved by working hard and making the most of the first class teaching and support available to them at Coleg y Cymoedd.

“We work very hard to ensure that learners who need to re-sit their GCSEs to help them with their next step, or those who are returning to education are supported.”

“On behalf of all the staff at the College, I would like to congratulate all learners achieving the GCSE results they need today, we wish them every success as they continue the next stage of their studies.

There are still places on part-time day, twilight and evening GCSE Maths and English courses and on Literacy and Numeracy boost programmes at Coleg y Cymoedd for September 2016. There is a level to suit everyone, from beginners to experts! So, if you need to gain that vital GCSE Maths and/or English qualification via a re-sit or simply want to improve your literacy and/or numeracy skills and confidence, contact the college or visit

Coleg y Cymoedd celebrates another year of A-level success

There are jubilant scenes at Coleg y Cymoedd today as learners and teachers join together at its A-level centre in Nantgarw in celebration of another year of outstanding exam results.   

This year 15 of the college’s 22 A level subject areas achieved a 100 per cent pass rate, including physics, history, religious studies, English language and literature.

With over 500 learners receiving their results today, Coleg y Cymoedd is the largest A-level provider in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The college’s dedicated A-level centre offers learners the choice of 27 subject options, and operates as a partnership between the College, St David’s Catholic College Cardiff and Cardinal Newman Roman Catholic School in Pontypridd.

One of the outstanding achievements to result from that partnership this year includes Kristian Hallett (18), a Cardinal Newman Catholic School learner from Ystrad Mynach, who achieved the grades he needed to secure a place at Oxford University.

With his AAAA grades in psychology, history, Welsh Baccalaureate, English language and literature in hand, Kristian is now set to study ‘Ancient and Modern History’ at the University of Oxford’s Regent’s Park College.

Kristian said, “Opening the results was great, it feels like the reward for all the hard work ahead of the exams and then waiting for the results. Now I know that I have a place secured at Oxford I think I might take a gap year, I may even study another A-level at Coleg y Cymoedd.”

Shortly after Kristian opened his results, one of Wales’ leading young athletes achieved his A-level goals. Calum Haggett (19), a learner from Tonyrefail, achieved three A and one A* grades in maths, physics, chemistry and biology to secure a place at Imperial College London to study biomedical science. Calum’s time at Coleg y Cymoedd has also seen him captain the college’s league winning rugby squad and represent his country internationally as captain of the Wales U18’s squad. For the last year Calum has put his rugby career on hold in order to concentrate on his studies.

Calum said: “Today is such a relief and is a real testament to the work I’ve put in over the last couple of years. I really can’t thank Coleg y Cymoedd enough for their support, they’ve really gone the extra mile to make sure I got the results I needed from organising additional tutoring to allowing me extra time to fit in my rugby career.”

Calum is now looking forward to joining a rugby club once he gets settled in London and re-igniting his playing career.

Results day 2016 at Coleg y Cymoedd also saw a pair of identical twin brothers celebrate identical sets of A-level results, which will allow both to attend the University of Bath to study same course.

Rory and Ryan Doolan opened their results together at the Coleg y Cymoedd A-level centre in Nantgarw this morning to discover that they had both achieved AAB and A* grades in maths, geography, physics and the Welsh baccalaureate. The brothers will now be heading to their first choice university to study civil engineering.

Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Since the opening of this centre four years ago, A-level results day has become one of the true highlights of our year. It’s a privilege to be here today to share in the excitement of the learners and tutors as they discover the results of two years of hard work and dedication. 

“Working with our partner schools, Coleg y Cymoedd has made its mission to strengthen the South Wales Valleys through excellent academic provision. I think the festival atmosphere here today shows that we are succeeding.

“On behalf of all the staff at the College, I would like to congratulate all A Level and AS learners. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter of their lives, we wish them every success as they continue the next stage of their studies, or set out on their career paths.

Coleg y Cymoedd serves more than 12,000 learners from the boroughs of Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and surrounding areas. In addition to A-levels, the college provides a wide selection of vocational courses across its four campuses – Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda, and Ystrad Mynach.

There are still places available for both A Level and vocational courses starting in September 2016. For more information about the courses available and how to apply visit

Kristian Hallett is off to the University of Oxford’s Regent’s Park College with AAAA grades to study Ancient and Modern History

Calum Haggett earns A* AAA to secure a place studying Biomedical Science at Imperial College London

Georgia Evans secures 2 A*s and an A to study History at Kings College London

Identical twins Rory and Ryan Doolan receive identical A Level results to study Civil Engineering at Bath University

Bethan Chamberlain jumps for joy on the red carpet

Minister congratulates latest graduates of BAMC apprenticeship

Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, has congratulated this year’s graduates from British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (BAMC) for successfully completing their apprenticeships.

BAMC has a long pedigree in training their own apprentices for work at their facility in Cardiff airport. They receive in excess of 350 applications, taking on 15 students every other year. Working with the two main further education providers in South East Wales, Coleg y Cymoedd and Cardiff & Vale College, they have a BAMC Class. They aim to find employment for every apprentice who completes the three year programme.

The apprenticeship programme for which they are having the graduation ceremony is run in conjunction with Coleg Y Cymoedd. Their separate Higher Apprenticeship Programme is run with Cardiff & Vale College. The apprenticeship is in Engineering Manufacture (Aerospace). In year one they undertake a foundation programme which is wholly class based. In year 2 they study to NVQ Level 2 and also undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate and in year 3 they study to NVQ Level 3.

Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James said: “BAMC’s comprehensive approach to training produces high-quality employees well equipped to take on the challenges of their future roles. I congratulate this year’s successful graduates and wish them all the best for the future. I am also very pleased to note that two of this year’s graduates are women. I would like to see more young women take an interest – and be encouraged into – a rewarding career in engineering. The Skills Gateway in Wales reports that 80% of employers agree apprentices make their workplace more productive and 83% rely on apprenticeships to provide their skilled workers for the future. This is why we have committed to a minimum of 100,000 all age apprenticeships to be delivered over the next five years, supplying Wales with a diverse, capable and prepared labour force.”

The Apprenticeship programme is currently supported by £83m from the European Social Fund (ESF). The Welsh Government is committed to delivering our EU funding programmes, creating a minimum of 100,000 all-age apprenticeship opportunities to support individuals and to help employers in growing their businesses.

British Airways Head of Engineering Business Units and Heavy Maintenance, Matthew Hancox, said: “We’re proud of our apprentices and want to celebrate their successes. We strive to offer all our people, including our apprentices, the very best training opportunities and courses possible and believe that our apprenticeship scheme can rival any in Wales. We have a great team at BAMC, with a fantastic approach to developing our next generation of talent.”

Bright start guaranteed for ambitious learner

A high achieving learner from Cardiff has become one of only three people to be accepted on a prestigious apprenticeship scheme with world leading international professional services firm, Deloitte.

Imogen Llewellyn, 19, who has just completed her BTEC National Extended Diploma in Business at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, was whittled down from hundreds of applicants to make the final three on the Cardiff stream of Deloitte’s BrightStart Apprenticeship. The four year course will see Imogen eventually become a qualified Chartered Accountant.

After initially finding out about the Deloitte scheme through a careers fayre, Imogen entered into a rigorous application process, which saw her go through personality tests, numeracy assessments, interviews and finally a presentation to one of the Deloitte partners. With help from her lecturers at Coleg y Cymoedd along the way, Imogen was eventually chosen as one of the three Cardiff apprentices who will kick off their four year course this coming September.

Imogen will get to work with a range of clients in different sectors and industries from the start of the scheme. Like her peers at Deloitte, Imogen will develop business advisory and consultancy skills, as well as on-the-job learning, which will stand her in good stead as her career grows. Deloitte is the second largest accountancy firm in the world, known as part of ‘The Big Four’ internationally.

Not only celebrating her place on the BrightStart scheme, Imogen recently discovered she has completed her two years at Coleg y Cymoedd achieving three Distinction* grades. Speaking about her time at the college, Imogen said: “It’s been great completing my BTEC at Coleg y Cymoedd and the lecturers have been really supportive throughout, particularly providing me with higher education options that don’t involve university. There are so many other great alternatives, such as the BrightStart scheme. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break over the summer but I can’t wait to get started in September.”

Through the BrightStart scheme, Imogen will earn a salary at the same time as gaining fully-funded professional accounting qualifications.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s Principal, Judith Evans, spoke of Imogen’s achievements, saying: “We are incredibly proud of Imogen’s achievements. She is a shining example of the hard-working learners here at the college. Like Imogen, we encourage all our learners to explore different higher education options, from apprenticeships to university to going straight into employment. Whatever the path they take, we hope the foundation laid here at Coleg y Cymoedd will set them up for a really bright and successful future.” 


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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