Coleg y Cymoedd learner follows her theatrical dream

Growing up, 19 year old Amy Williams from Pontypridd had always dreamed of performing on the stage but questioned if she could make a sustainable career from it? She has just completed the Performing Arts course at Coleg y Cymoedd and has secured a place at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy in London to study a BA Hons. Degree in Musical Theatre -to follow that dream.

At 16 years Amy was unsure what career path to follow, an academic route or her passion – she had heard amazing things about the Performing Arts department at the college and decided to attend an Open Day to experience it for herself.

After speaking with Course tutors Jaye Lawrence and Jo Hodges about the course and opportunities available at Cymoedd, Amy knew this was where she wanted to study; and with the support of the tutors, she knew she could achieve her goal to work in the industry.
Throughout the course, Amy took every opportunity offered to gain more experience in the industry, which would enhance her CV and secure a university place after the course. In a very competitive environment, preparing for auditions is paramount and the course offered a complete unit dedicated to that subject, building confidence and highlighting the highs and lows of the industry.

Speaking about her time at Cymoedd Amy said” I would strongly recommend the college and the course, the tutors are so supportive, ensuring everyone is progressing in their education and becoming the people they are meant to be – the course is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I felt free to express myself and experiment within different styles and aspects of performing; not only making me a better performer but also making me grow up and become a more independent young adult.

The college has an outstanding reputation, and they have changed my life I am a completely different person leaving. I’ve had a great experience which I know will put me in good stead whatever the future holds. I’m really excited to start my three year degree course in London, where I hope to meet up with a fellow Cymoedd learner William Heal, who has spent the last year at the Academy”.

Virtual celebrations mark real successes at Coleg y Cymoedd

College learners across the South Wales Valleys are celebrating their A level and vocational successes from home this year as Coleg y Cymoedd announces outstanding results for 2020.

The college’s Nantgarw-based A-level Centre, which switched to remote learning in March following the Covid-19 outbreak, has achieved a 99.7 per cent overall pass rate, with the number of learners attaining A*-C grades up to 80.9 % per cent at A2. The majority of A2 subject areas have also secured a 100 per cent pass rate, including the sciences, humanities, further maths and English.  

Coleg y Cymoedd’s A2 results continue a trend of improvement, with 2020 standing as the college’s third successive record-breaking year.  A year that has seen the college adapt its teaching and pastoral care practices to support leaners as they work from home via online lectures, virtual catch ups and continual check ins.

Results Day would usually see hundreds of learners unite on campus to celebrate their achievements with classmates and tutors. Embracing the new normal, Coleg y Cymoedd is encouraging learners and their families to join together on social media to celebrate the results that they have received electronically. 

Karen Phillips, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “This has been a very different year for our learners as they have navigated studies through a global pandemic and national lockdown. We have been amazed by the hard work, dedication, and resilience that they have shown as we have all adapted to working from home.

“While we cannot celebrate with learners in person this year and are missing our usual campus festivities, on behalf of the college I congratulate all who have received their results today.  We wish them the very best for the future, whether they’re planning on heading to university, apprenticeships, further education, training, or employment – we’ll be keeping in touch with them all and watching their fantastic progress closely.”

Coleg y Cymoedd’s learners may have to celebrate at home this year, but the college has literally rolled out the red carpet for the teams of staff who have arrived on campus to offer learners support remotely, answer calls and respond to queries through the website’s live chat service.  

The college’s Principal added: “Today’s fantastic results are testament to the tenacity and commitment of our learners as well as the dedication of our tutors and support teams who have been committed to providing unrivalled pastoral care. I would also like to pay tribute to the dedicated work of our tutors to analyse all the evidence of past exams, assignments and practical tests to calculate the results this year. Their efforts have ensured that learners are awarded grades that properly reflect their abilities and the actual results secured prior to April of this year.

“In these exceptional times we have worked hard to ensure learners have access to all the usual support and advice. Aside from online lectures, staff have been regularly checking in with them, and our tutors and welfare team are available throughout Results Day, whether that is through our web chat or on the phone.”

This year’s strong results have seen learners secure places at some of the UK’s best universities.

One learner celebrating top marks today is Jodie Neville, 18, from Treharris, who will be heading to Oxford University after achieving outstanding grades (A*, A*, A, A) in Law, Sociology, Maths and History. The gifted learner, who hopes to become a criminal barrister, fell in love with the prestigious university after taking part in its residential summer school programme last year.

Jodie Neville, 2 A*’s and 2 A’s

Jodie said: “I’m so happy to have got the results that I needed to get to university. I have always wanted to go to Oxford and knowing that I have secured my place is a huge relief! It is one of the best universities in the world and I am so excited to start my course in October.”

Also championing Coleg y Cymoedd is Tazkia Choudhury, 20, from Pontypridd, who is set to study medicine at Sheffield university after coming back to college to give A-levels a second try and securing impressive A*A A grades in Biology, Chemistry and History.

Originally studying the subjects in sixth form, where she got D grades, Tazkia left school after her first year to provide care for her terminally ill grandmother. Determined to improve her grades, she decided to return to college to redo her AS levels and, despite balancing care duties and studies, got straight As, even achieving 100% in one of her exams. These results inspired Tazkia to change her career ambitions and apply to study medicine.

Tazkia Choudhury, A*,A,A

Motivated by her late grandmother, Tazkia now hopes to work in oncology to help other patients suffering from cancer. She said: “When I first studied my AS levels, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and, although I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 10, I thought the idea of doing medicine at university was completely out of my reach.

“I was determined to make the most of the opportunities available to me so decided to sign up to college to try again. I was nervous about doing the same subjects, but my tutors encouraged me and reassured me that I would get support throughout. I was aiming to get Cs so couldn’t believe when I got As. It gave me the confidence to think, ‘actually, you know what? I can apply for medicine’.”

Meanwhile, science learner Josie Wood, 18, from Blackwood, has also secured stellar A*A A A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and French, securing her place at Bath University to study Natural Sciences. Josie, who has long had a passion for science, has been inspired by the fight against Coronavirus to pursue a career in medical research.

Josie Wood, A*,A,A


Scott Harris A*, A, A

Established in 2013, Coleg y Cymoedd’s A-level Centre offers learners the choice of over 20 AS and A-level subject options.  Coleg y Cymoedd is the largest education provider across Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf.


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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