South Wales business supports engineers of the future

Coleg y Cymoedd’s mechanical engineering learners have been recognised by industry for their high standard of work. The successful full time learners and apprentices are studying on a range of courses at the Nantgarw campus.

This year’s cohort of mechanical engineering learners attracted the attention of representatives from Buck & Hickman for their excellent academic achievements during their studies at the college and for many, also at their work placements.

The organisation who supply South Wales manufacturing businesses with a wide range of specialist products and services, kindly offered its support to sponsor this year’s awards.

During the departmental awards all learners were congratulated for their hard work and commitment; with the following learners receiving Tooling vouchers and certificates in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

Will Davies received the overall Mechanical Apprentice of the Year 2018. Will was described as an exemplary learner and thoroughly deserving of this award. As well as producing work of the highest standard, Will has an engaging personality and has a fantastic work ethic. Polite, courteous, and conscientious, staff described Will as a ‘pleasure to teach’. He has completed several periods of work placement during this academic year with a range of employers, all of whom have offered him a full time apprenticeship programme. Will has now accepted an apprenticeship with Kauten –Textron.

Brendon Lee was awarded the GE Aviation Apprentice of the Year 2018. He completed his practical work to a very high standard and well ahead of schedule. Selecting the winner for this category was a particularly difficult task for the staff due to the high standards set by this years’ cohort of 1st year GE Aviation Apprentices. Brendon completed a Level 2 engineering programme at Nantgarw last year before becoming an apprentice last September. Always polite and hardworking, staff believe Brendon will be an asset to his employer.

Connor Paskell has worked very hard this year, consistently producing work of the highest standard. With a strong desire to succeed, Connor completed his practical assessments ahead of schedule. He is currently being interviewed and will hopefully gain an apprenticeship soon. Connor received the award for BTEC (EEP) Apprentice of the Year (group 1) 2018.

Manmeet Singh studying on the BTEC (EEP) secured the Apprentice of the Year (group 2) 2018. The teaching team described Manmeet as a highly motivated learner with a passion for learning. Conscientious with an excellent work ethic, Manmeet completed all of his practical assessments and is now attending work placement with his sponsor employer (High Precision Wales) one day each week. Manmeet has all the right attributes for a very successful career in engineering. He is already leading the way in his company using CAM packages and operating the newly purchased CNC machining centre.

Ioan Middleton was awarded VRQ (EEP) Apprentice of the Year (group 2) 2018. Ioan has a positive demeanour and his tutors stated he has been a pleasure to teach. He is inquisitive and enthusiastic and has produced work of the highest standard throughout the year. Ioan is a very courteous, pleasant young man who works hard. He has recently attained a placement with Pullman Rail which he hopes will result in an apprenticeship in September 2018.

The final award of the afternoon was awarded to Kian Lloyd Boulton, he received the Level 2 Mechanical Learner of the Year Award. Kian is studying at level 2 this year, showing commitment and dedication to his studies from the first day in college. Kian has applied for the level 3 Enhanced Engineering Programme (EEP) for next year as part of his journey to a successful career in engineering.

Gavin Davies, Assistant Principal (Quality Improvement) said” I am delighted that the learners have been recognised for their academic achievements; they have all worked hard throughout their course. I am also grateful to their tutors for the support they have given them.

The college wish them every success in their employment and future studies, I hope the ‘learning experience’ they have received at Coleg y Cymoedd will put them in good stead for the future. We are grateful to Buck & Hickman for sponsorship; making this event possible.

Coleg y Cymoedd is proud of its facilities and has made significant investment in its provision. The college boasts industry standard machinery/equipment and provides high quality engineering training.

Royal Wedding Celebrations at the Nursery, Ystrad Mynach campus

Royal Wedding celebrations were in full swing all week at the college nursery. The children were involved in Royal Wedding themed activities including – decorating Harry and Meghan’s wedding attire and decorating wedding cakes and crowns

A nursery / home school task involved parents making a hat fit for a wedding” with their child which were paraded at the “Royal Walkabout” through the college.

This was followed by a street party of fancy food including scones with Jam and Cream, and an afternoon of dancing and party games.

Cymoedd Sports learners support Caerphilly’s “Football World Cup” Festival

A group of fifty Cymoedd learners recently supported Caerphilly’s own Football World Cup for Primary schools; which took place at the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach.

The Level 3 Sport Learners – Years 1 & 2 who are studying at the Ystrad Mynach campus assisted with the event which was organised by Sport Caerphilly and sponsored by the FAW Trust.

Over 500 pupils from across the 46 primary schools across the County Borough attended the event which was planned to coincide with the FIFA World Cup which will be held in Russia this summer; each school representing a different country.

The college learners played an instrumental part of the event, officiating the matches between the enthusiastic Year 5 & 6 pupils. Their involvement was recognised by Cllr. David Poole, Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council who thanked them for their involvement with the event.

Lisa Reynolds – BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport Co-ordinator commented” What a brilliant event, the learners were able to see what is involved when running a large scale tournament. As the learners work closely with Caerphilly Sports Development, they knew what was expected of them”.

Caitlin Morris studying on the BTEC course said” The children were really excited about playing and we enjoyed the coaching and refereeing. The event was the biggest that we have been involved with, especially we got to coach a range of abilities”.

Spectators at the event were joined by representatives from the FAW Trust, Welsh Government and Sport Wales who are keen to see more young players encouraged to engage with local football community clubs.

Brave Valleys teenager takes on skydive for charity

A teenager from the South Wales Valleys has gone to extraordinary heights to raise money for charity after taking the plunge 12,000 ft out a plane to help people battling with heart disease.

Sixteen-year-old Cyrstal Liu from Porth took to the skies to carry out a sponsored sky-dive in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

The college learner, who is studying for A-levels at Coleg y Cymoedd, took the jump in Swansea with Skydive Swansea and has already raised more than £400 thanks to her bravery.

After being tasked with raising money for charity as part of her college studies, Crystal decided to dive straight into the deep end with a tandem sky-dive.

Crystal explained: “I wanted to do something different and out there for my fundraising because the I really wanted to challenge myself. I had never done anything like this and thought it would be a great way to raise funds.”

Despite having never done anything like it before, Crystal wasn’t fazed about the prospect of jumping out of a plane 12,000 ft above ground, instead focusing on the fact that she would be helping a good cause. 

She said: “In the run up to the event, I wasn’t actually that nervous. I distracted myself and thought about how the money I raised would make a difference and help the lives of others, but the nerves definitely kicked in on the day! 

“Despite some initial butterflies pre-jump, I was more excited than anything – excited at the prospect of taking part in such an amazing experience, especially knowing I was helping a really worthwhile cause in the process. The sky-dive itself was an absolutely incredible and is definitely something I will never forget.”

Crystal completed the sky dive as part of her Welsh baccalaureate at college, which required her to take part in a group ‘community challenge’, raising money for a charity collectively decided upon by Crystal and her group of two other course mates.

Each of the learners could raise money in whatever way they wanted, but rather than opting for a more straight-forward method of fundraising, Crystal was immediately set on jumping out of a plane to the surprise of tutors and classmates.

Following her sky-dive, the thrill seeker is now hoping to undertake other extreme sports in the future, with plans for a bungee jump next on the cards.

In total, the college group raised almost £600 for the British Heart Foundation, which will go towards making the charity’s ground-breaking heart research possible.

Merthyr learner soaring for success with trip to Camp America

Merthyr learner soaring for success with trip to Camp America

An ambitious college learner from Merthyr Tydfil is set to spend the summer of a lifetime in the states after impressing bosses across the pond at the famous Camp America programme.

19-year-old Ffion Faith Evans has bagged herself a place at the famous American camp after spending a successful six-week stint there last summer.

The Travel and Tourism learner from Coleg y Cymoedd will be jetting back off to the USA at the beginning of June for an eight-week summer camp placement.  

Camp America is a cultural exchange programme that provides young people from all over the globe with the chance to spend their summer living and working on a camp in the USA, taking care of and entertaining younger camp residents. 

The dedication and enthusiasm she displayed last year while working as a Camp America lifeguard and dorm leader impressed the team so much that she received the rare opportunity to be invited to return for another sought-after placement.

The return to Camp America will see Ffion, who plans to travel the world working in the skies as a flight attendant, clock up her air miles. Not fazed by being the other side of the globe, Ffion jumped at the chance to take part in the trip the first-time round and could not wait to hear what job she would be doing once she was there.

As a strong swimmer with training as a swimming coach, unsurprisingly Ffion was allocated the role of lifeguard – a position that she loved. Ffion explained: “While at the camp I was responsible for ensuring pool safety, organising and running activities at the waterfront, such as aqua aerobics and ninja warriors.

“On top of this, I also stayed in a dorm with twelve eight-year-old children whom I had personal responsibility of during all periods of downtime, as well as at night, which was certainly a testing but enjoyable experience.

 “Working at Camp America was an absolutely incredible experience and one that I will never forget. I made some friends for life while I was out there and learnt so much, both in terms of skills, and about myself in general. I came back home with so much more confidence, and I can’t wait to go back out there again.”

For Ffion, the time at Camp America provided her with a number of valuable skills that she plans to use in her future career.

Those skills will be added to those Ffion has developed while studying for a Level 3 qualification in Travel and Tourism with Air Cabin Crew at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus, which prepares learners for a career in the travel industry with modules including customer service, the business of tourism, and practical sessions in passenger care and health & safety. The course even includes a trip to Heathrow Airport to take part in British Airways training exercises on aircraft evacuation and water-based survival sessions.

Ffion added: “The experience taught me that it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’re from, anyone can work together and build strong friendships, even after just a couple of weeks together.  It’s also shown me that patience is a virtue, and that no matter how tired you are, if you have the willpower you can push through and get a job done. I think all of this has prepared me for a future role in cabin crew.”

Ffion was supported to take part in the programme by Coleg y Cymoedd with the college paying for her expenses through the Boost programme.


On Friday, 27 April 2018 an invited learner and staff audience drawn from the Learner Voice Councils of all four campuses, Heads of School, Senior Leadership Team and Support Area Directors and Managers came together for the Learner Voice Annual Conference. The audience number totalled 64 learners and 21 members of staff.

The day was supported by Creative Industries who facilitated technical support and a graphic capture of the event. The day was funded through the NUS budget and the conference was led by five Learner Executives and featured a presentation from a Friends of the Earth campaigner.

The conference topics discussed were:


Topic Title: Induction – its relevance, impact and opportunities to improve


Topic Title: How can we better integrate core skills into the vocational curriculum?

Topic Title: With the policies in place and operating for a learning community that embraces mutual respect; how do we achieve the cultural change and what does that look like?

Topic Title: Explore a range of digital media to improve communication between staff and learners

Feedback from the audience shows that everyone was delighted to have been able to take part and that they found the discussion opportunity of great benefit

New home for Maesgwyn Special School at Aberdare campus

The Council’s Leader has officially opened a new satellite base for Maesgwyn Special School at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Aberdare Campus, to strengthen ties between the school and the college for the benefit of pupils.

Councillor Andrew Morgan opened the learning facility, located at the former Aberdare railway station building, during a special event on Tuesday, April 17. The building has been revitalised as part of Coleg y Cymoedd’s state-of-the-art £20m development in Robertstown, which opened to learners in September 2017, replacing its former Cwmdare Campus.

Post-16 pupils from Maesgwyn Special School attended the opening event, alongside the Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning Councillor Joy Rosser, and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans.

The new provision will provide Maeswgyn Special School, based in Cwmdare, with a base for post-16 learners. It will build upon the existing relationship between the school and college, which has seen Maesgwyn Special School pupils access college courses over a number of years.

The new arrangement will also provide learners with an important insight into all aspects of college life – including access to college taster sessions so they can sample vocational opportunities with a view to pursuing courses in the future. It will also provide access to a variety of ‘link’ courses for discrete groups of learners, and the BOOST extra-curricular programme.

Councillor Morgan said: “It was a pleasure to open Maesgwyn Special School’s new classroom at the new Coleg y Cymoedd Campus in Aberdare which, coupled with the state-of-the-art Aberdare Community School as part of the Council’s investment in Education and Leisure, provides young people in Aberdare with facilities unrivalled anywhere across the Valleys.

“The new satellite base will provide Maesgwyn Special School pupils with more than just a new place to learn, providing them with access to wider college facilities, additional vocational opportunities and social interaction with a wider range of peers. Ultimately, it will allow the Council to improve the planning and delivery of support for young people with additional learning needs, and ensure a more seamless transition into college from special school.”

Councillor Rosser added: “This initiative was developed in preparation for new Additional Learning Needs Reforms, and replicates another post-16 satellite provision established three years ago in Rhondda through a partnership between the Council, Ysgol Hen Felin and Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Campus.

“The scheme in Aberdare will introduce an even more inclusive approach to Maesgwyn’s current relationship with Coleg y Cymoedd, which goes back a number of years. It will broaden pupils’ access to a range of educational opportunities and enable them to see college as a more viable proposition once they leave school – giving pupils the best chance of achieving success.

“More and more pupils in Rhondda Cynon Taf are benefitting from the very latest school facilities, as the Council’s significant Education investment through #RCTinvest continues. In the 2018/19 academic year, a joint £85m investment with the Welsh Government will see new 21st Century Schools facilities delivered in Tonyrefail, Porth, Cymmer, Ferndale, Tonypandy and Treorchy – alongside a new £7.2m school for Cwmaman.”

Judith Evans, principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “We stand to ensure that all learners in the communities we serve have access to highest quality education provisions and state-of-the-art facilities. Collaboration with our neighboring schools is vital to helping us to deliver on our mission to provide young people with every opportunity to develop themselves and access the career pathways they deserve.

“Our Aberdare Campus community is excited to welcome Maesgwyn Special School to our new classroom facilities, and we look forward to working together on this next phase of our existing and longstanding relationship. In doing so we are certain that this partnership will enable pupils to have access to college level equipment and teaching resources, gain valuable insights into college life, and secure a trusted pathway into further education one they leave school.”


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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