College rugby players jet off to Australia to represent Wales at Commonwealth Championships

A group of talented rugby players from a south Wales college have been selected to represent their country at the Rugby League 2018 Commonwealth Championships, after impressing academy coaches.

Three former learners from Coleg y Cymoedd will join the Wales Rugby League’s U23’s regional team at this year’s Rugby Nines Championships in Australia.

College alumnus Macauley Harris, Liam Silver and Cobi Green will compete as part of the 15-man squad at the international competition taking place next month in Queensland.

The two-day tournament will see the nine-a-side team, made up of the nation’s top youth players aged between 18 and 23, face seven other nations in the men’s category: Papua New Guinea, Australia, England, Scotland, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

Macauley Harris, from Glyncoch, Pontypridd, is one of the Cymoedd players set to play at the Championships. With four Welsh caps to his name, the eighteen-year old has played for a host of high profile teams since first playing union rugby aged 11, including the South Wales Scorpions Academy, Wales Students and his current club, the West Wales Raiders.

Speaking of his place on the team, Macaulay said: “At first, I didn’t think I’d make it onto the national squad because no matter how good a player you are, you can’t know how things are going to go on the day of your trials.

“When I found out I made the cut, I was absolutely over the moon. Playing at the Commonwealth will be an amazing experience.”

Macauley, who hopes to become a professional rugby league player, also represented Wales Students at the World Cup in Australia last summer, along with fellow Coleg y Cymoedd ex-learners Dewi Billingham, Archie Snook and Cobi Green.

The Coleg y Cymoedd players selected for the Commonwealth and World Cup were all graduates from the college’s Rugby League Academy, an RFL Category 3 accredited academy run by the college in partnership with the Wales Rugby League.

Designed to give players the chance to combine accredited rugby training with full-time academic study, the academy offers BTEC Level 1, 2 or 3 sports qualifications and/or A-Levels alongside training as part of the programme.

Now in its third year, the scheme aims to provide a bridge for those looking to continue Rugby League into further education on a part or full-time basis, with many of the team’s candidates having gone on to play for high profile teams including the South Wales Scorpions U20’s Academy and the Wales Students squad.

Mark Jones Head of Rugby League at Coleg Cymoedd said: “From a coaching and management perspective, it’s fantastic to see so many of our past and presents learners selected to represent Wales on an international level. Hearing that Macauley, Liam and Cobi will play in the Commonwealth is fantastic news and so very well deserved – the boys have worked hard, dedicating much time and effort to achieve their goals.

“It’s a huge achievement for them to be representing their country at the Championships. I’m excited to join the boys out in Australia next month for the tournament and wish them the best of luck.”

The news of the Commonwealth squad selection comes after the success of four of the Cymoedd rugby league academy players who were selected to represent the Wales Students team, which was also managed by Mark, in the 2017 Students World Cup.

Mark added: “Taking four of my Academy players to the World Cup tournament in Australia last year was a huge highlight for both me personally and the college Rugby Academy. It shows that our pathway for elite rugby league at the college is working.”

The 2018 Rugby League Commonwealth Nines tournament will take place on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th February in Moreton Bay, Queensland, just half an hour north of Brisbane. 

For anyone interested in applying for the Coleg y Cymoedd Rugby League Academy please contact Mark Jones on

Welsh college sets sights far and wide to help improve education in Vietnam

Education experts from a college in the south Wales valleys have travelled across the globe to help improve the quality of education in Vietnam and increase the skills and employability of learners in the country.

Coleg y Cymoedd has partnered up with five vocational colleges in Vietnam, to share its expertise on best education practice to boost teaching standards and help resolve some of the key challenges being faced by educators in the country on a daily basis.

The partnerships were formed through the British Council’s ‘Foundation Project Vietnam’ scheme, a collaboration between the British Council, Coleg y Cymoedd and Vietnam’s General Department of Vocational Training designed to enrich learning experiences in both Vietnam and Wales.

The two-year programme has seen four representatives from Coleg y Cymoedd travel to colleges in Hue City, HoChiMinh City and the country’s capital Hanoi. Meeting with their Vietnamese counterparts, including Principals and lecturers, allowed the Welsh experts opportunities to learn about the existing practices and procedures at the colleges, and gain feedback from students.

This information enabled the Coleg y Cymoedd team to identify areas for improvement within each of the partner colleges and create plans to tackle key issues.

Throughout the project, the team worked closely with the Vietnamese representatives, delivering face-to-face training to develop their skills, as well as sharing tips, tools and resources to support them in implementing changes to improve the quality of education provided within their colleges.

The project also saw ten delegates from each of the Vietnamese colleges visit the UK for a week of training at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, to take part in job shadowing and lesson observations, as well as learn about new teaching and assessment methods and strategies.

The exchanges allowed the delegation to see first-hand how Coleg y Cymoedd captures learners’ feedback in order to continuously improve the college’s facilities, teaching and learning provisions.

In November 2017, members of Coleg y Cymoedd’s team travelled back to Vietnam to see how the project has benefited the colleges abroad.

Matthew Tucker, Director of Business Services, at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This project has been a huge success and we have seen some fantastic improvements to the resources and quality of teaching within all of the colleges we have linked up with. It’s been great to pass on our teaching practices and quality processes, and seeing the differences these have made has been extremely rewarding.

The scheme saw Coleg y Cymoedd partner with five Vietnamese colleges: the Ba Ria Tau Province Vocational College, and the Central Vocational College of Transport No 1 and No 3, as well as the Hanoi Industrial Vocational College, the Vietnam-Korea Vocational College, and the Hanoi Vocational College for Electro Mechanics. 

Mr Tucker continued: “The key aim behind this project was to support the colleges to listen to their learners and improve their provisions based on their feedback, as we do here at Coleg y Cymoedd. Having visited the colleges, we can safely say that the scheme has been effective in doing just that, with each of the institutions having implemented new practices and training strategies that they have learnt from us.”

“It’s been a pleasure to be involved in making a difference to the level of education provided over the other side of the globe.”

Thanks to the success of the programme, the college has received further interest from educators in the area, with Coleg y Cymoedd acquiring new partner, Hue Tourism College located in Hue City, as well as continuing to work with the three Hanoi based colleges.


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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