Opening of new training academy lays groundwork to build new careers in the construction industry

A new construction training facility has opened to provide industry professionals in South Wales with the opportunity to upskill with the latest industry qualifications, and allow those looking for a change of career to gain in demand skills that will unlock new job opportunities.    

The launch of the Construction Hub Academy in Oakdale, Caerphilly, will provide a range of sought-after industry accredited qualifications and short courses within the demolition and groundworks sector.

The centre has been created in response to growing demand for groundworks staff as the appetite for new construction developments and projects continues to soar. Courses will be made available to individuals as well as to construction businesses who would like to upskill their workforce.

Through a collaboration between industry partners and Coleg y Cymoedd, the facility will train both individuals preparing for their first roles in construction, and those already working within the sector who want to further develop their skills with specialist qualifications.

The centre and its courses are also open to people from other industry sectors who are looking to retrain and switch to careers in construction. With the sector’s demand for skilled talent continuing to grow, the training opportunities could be key for anyone who might have suffered job losses as a result of the pandemic.

To increase access to the courses, the centre is teaming up with Coleg y Cymoedd to roll out the programme. Anyone wanting to enter the groundworks industry, whether they are at the start of their careers or seeking to switch professions and apply their years of experience in a new industry, can apply for a place on their chosen course through the college.

Matt Tucker, Assistant Principal of Business Services at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Employment opportunities in the construction sector are continuing to rise and we are pleased to be partnering up with the new Construction Hub Academy to facilitate training in this growing area. We welcome anyone who is thinking about a career in construction, whether they’ve just left school or are thinking of a career switch, to get in touch.”

Those joining the academy will be able to work towards a range of industry accredited qualifications and licences, including training to use excavators, dump trucks, forklifts, and other plant machinery associated with building groundworks. Other available courses include cable avoidance training and various health and safety certificates. The centre will also offer bespoke training packages tailored to companies’ individual requirements.

Chris Rosser, Director of Business Development at the Construction Hub Academy said: “Despite growing demand for labour in the groundworks sector, there was a real gap in the market for quality training within this field of construction in Wales. This was something we wanted to address with creation of our bespoke training academy.

“The qualifications we will offer at the academy will benefit a range of people, helping equip those who are new to the industry with the qualifications they need to get started, while also enabling existing professionals in the construction sector to learn new skills that will help them to progress and get further ahead in their careers.”

The new facility has already created five jobs for training instructors, while a further four jobs will be created in the coming months as the centre looks to fill additional training coordinator and business development roles.

Learners can choose to study at the Construction Hub Academy’s facilities in Oakdale or at Coleg y Cymoedd, where instructors from the academy will deliver training on behalf of the college. Alternatively, construction businesses also have the option for training to be delivered on their own sites if they prefer, with instructors able to travel across South Wales.

Dependent on eligibility criteria, government funding is available to individuals and businesses to cover the costs of training.

Chris added: “It is important to us to give back to the local community, supporting people to secure sustainable job opportunities and helping businesses to have access to high quality staff with the right skills and training. We want more businesses to be aware that funding is available to cover the cost of upskilling their employees so there is no outlay for them.

“We are particularly keen to support people who have been in long term unemployment and are actively looking to fill our upcoming roles with this consideration in mind. We also hope that our new courses will be a positive option for anyone who is looking to retrain and upskill in light of the pandemic as there are plenty of job opportunities within the construction sector.”

Looking ahead, the Construction Hub Academy has hopes to develop a long term apprenticeship scheme with Coleg y Cymoedd, where learners will study courses from the academy and gain on site experience.

Anyone interested in studying courses at the academy can find out more at: www.theconstructionhubacademy.co.uk 

Celebrating Welsh Week at Coleg y Cymoedd

Every year, around St David’s Day, Coleg y Cymoedd organises a week of events to encourage learners and staff to celebrate our heritage and culture. Although this year’s celebrations have been slightly different with more virtual engagement; the college enjoyed a week packed full of activities with excellent participation from both learners and staff.

The celebrations began on St David’s Day itself, 1 March, with a virtual session on our national anthem ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’. The Head of Welsh Language Developments held the session for staff and learners, teaching them how to pronounce the words correctly; the meaning of the lyrics and the anthem’s history. There was also a virtual coffee morning in conjunction with other colleges in the south east. It was an opportunity for staff responsible for Welsh language developments within the colleges to chat over a cup of tea and a Welsh cake and share good practice.

Throughout the week, an opportunity was given to learn Welsh. Alison Jones, held daily sessions for learners and staff eager to learn, to get a taste of the Welsh language and learn basic phrases.

The celebrations continued with a quizzes over Microsoft Forms, where learners and staff had the opportunity to answer questions relating to Wales, the Welsh language and Welsh Celebrities and win vouchers. There was an amazing response with 600 learners and staff taking part. The winners were Emma Preston; Catherine Smith; Chloe Miles; Chrystal Couch; Naeve Hopkins; Rose Keeping; Celia Baxter; Victoria Matthews; Katie Burgess; Lucy Morgan; Lisa Armstrong; Martyn Burgess; Lisa Jones; Andrea Soulsby a Paul Rennie.

On Wednesday, the college held its second ‘Lleisiau’r Cymoedd (Voices of the Valleys); session – a series of virtual Q&A sessions with some of well-known faces from the Valleys, sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. This time, Welsh Language Officer, Lois Roberts, interviewed actress and Pobol y Cwm star, Gwawr Loader. It was a very entertaining session and the actress was asked about her upbringing in the Taff-Bargoed valley; how the Welsh language has benefited her in her career; and what advice she has for those at the college pursuing creative courses.

On Thursday, a meeting of Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Ambassadors for Further Education in the south east was held. It was a great opportunity for one of Coleg y Cymoedd’s ambassadors, Molly Davies, to chat with other college ambassadors; discuss ideas for activities that would appeal to learners and share their experiences of being a Welsh ambassador in a further education college.

The Welsh Language Development Team took advantage of Welsh Week’s opportunity to launch a very exciting campaign at the College, a special Microsoft TEAMS Group for staff who are learning Welsh. The group, organised by our Welsh Tutor, Alison Kitson, will be an opportunity for staff learning Welsh to converse in Welsh and share their learning experiences; share useful resources and create a community.

Finishing the celebrations was the annual St David’s Day competition with great excitement across the college – who would be the winners?

The competition, sponsored by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, was open to individuals and groups across the four campuses. The competition asked learners to answer the question ‘What does Wales mean to me’, by any means they wished. There were some truly amazing entries and the Welsh Language Development Team had the difficult task of selecting the winning entries.

This year’s winners were:

Thomas Coombs L2 Diploma for Music Practitioners, Nantgarw – song

Katie Kirby- Jones Foundation Art & Design Diploma L3/4, Nantgarw – mask

Frankie Grierson L1 Creative Arts & Media , Ystrad Mynach – pictures and personal statement

Gruffydd George EL3 Creative Arts & Media, Nantgarw – picture and video

Harvey Daggitt-Cotty EL2 Pathways 2 Skills for Life & Work, Ystrad Mynach – poem

Connor Murrell EL3 Creative Media Group 2 , Nantgarw – picture and video

Miran Ismail EL3 Creative Media, Group 2, Nantgarw – picture and personal statement

Cerys Williams-Griffiths L3 Diploma in Art & Design, Nantgarw – picture

Emma Preston L2 Childcare, Play, Learning & Development – personal statement

Chrystal Couch L2 Pathways, Rhondda – poster and personal statement

Clara Waters EL2 Pathways 2 Skills for Life & Work, Ystrad Mynach – video

Dewi Williams EL3 Catering, Rhondda – song (group work)

David Damen EL3 Catering, Rhondda – song (group work)

Callum Owens EL3 Catering, Rhondda – song (group work)

Congratulating participants, Alison Jones said, “It was a privilege to see how much love for Wales Coleg y Cymoedd learners have. I really appreciate the passion and effort of everyone who took part. It was difficult to choose 12 winners from the many who entered.”

 

Valleys teenager scores football scholarship to train and study stateside

A valleys learner is one step closer to achieving his dreams of becoming a professional footballer after landing a scholarship to train and study at a leading college in the US.  

Owain Jones, 19, from Tonypandy, is set to head stateside this summer after securing a place at New York-based Jamestown Community College.

The talented player, who is currently completing a Level 3 qualification in Sport at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, will train with the college’s acclaimed athletics department to advance his skills in football and help kickstart his dream career of playing professionally.

Owain was presented with the opportunity to train abroad through Coleg y Cymoedd’s sports department who set up meetings for him with sports agency, Future Elite Sports. The college and agency worked closely together to highlight Owain’s football talents, with the college actively filming matches and training sessions which Owain took part in and the agency assisting Owain in preparing for a showcase in front of U.S coaches where his skills and talent were put under the spotlight.

After months of calls between Future Elite Sports and interested coaches, Owain received offers from three US-based colleges, before ultimately deciding to confirm his place in Jamestown Community College.

Owain said: “I’ve always had a passion for football and have played the sport from a young age. To play professionally in the future is a dream of mine, and I’m determined to achieve this.

 “I am so thankful to Coleg y Cymoedd for introducing me to Future Elite Sports, as well as for my tutors Phil Thomas, Daniel Thomas and the football coaching staff for helping me achieve this goal of mine. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today with regards to my football knowledge and confidence.

“To be able to secure a place to study abroad, especially during such difficult times, is something I’m proud of. I’m so excited to see what this opportunity has in store for me and can’t wait to take part in the top-class training Jamestown Community College Athletics has to offer.”

Jamestown Community College is a member of the Western New York Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) – the American national governing body for collegiate athletics. Following the successful completion of his two-year course at Jamestown Community College, Owain will be eligible to progress his international education and training further as a student-athlete at a US university, opening up doors for a professional footballing career.

Philip Thomas, Owain’s course tutor at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Studying in New York is a fantastic opportunity for Owain. The process to securing a place to study in the US has taken hard work, but Owain has seen it all the way through and demonstrated his confidence and conviction.

 “He has shown great commitment to his football and has inspired other learners to follow in his footsteps. We’re so proud of Owain and can’t wait to see him excel in his studies and training abroad.”

To find out more about the Sports qualifications and opportunities Coleg y Cymoedd has to offer, visit: https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/

Coleg y Cymoedd rewarded for its support of young carers

Coleg y Cymoedd, which has locations in Ystrad Mynach, Aberdare, Rhondda and Nantgarw, has been awarded the ‘Gold Young Carers College’ award from Rhondda Cynon Taf Young Carers’ Service, which celebrates further education colleges that are taking active steps to support learners with caring responsibilities.

The gold award – the highest possible accolade an education provider can achieve in the region – recognises the steps that Coleg y Cymoedd has taken to ensure that its young and young adult carers (18-24 year olds) are fully supported in order for them to fulfil their potential.

The news comes just one year after the college received its silver accreditation and follows a string of other awards, including a Carers Federation Quality Standard in Carer Support award, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to strengthening the resources it has available for young carers studying at its campuses.

According to the latest available figures, there are currently over 2,500 young carers in Rhondda Cynon Taf. These young people help to look after a relative, friend or neighbour who wouldn’t otherwise be able to manage alone due to illness, age or disability.

As a result of having to juggle a caring role with school or college work, these carers are five times more likely to drop out of education than other learners as they struggle to cope with the additional pressures of studying on top of their care responsibilities. 

Designed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Young Carers’ Service, the Young Carers College and Schools award schemes have been developed to tackle this problem and help learners continue their education and training by ensuring that academic staff are aware of how to identify young and young adult carers, understand the difficulties they face and implement policies and support systems that will assist them.

The award consists of three levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold, with each level consisting of a set of standards which progressively increase the support and guidance that young carers are offered in their education.

Councillor Christina Leyshon, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted to see Coleg y Cymoedd being awarded the Gold Award in recognition of the support they provide to our Young Carers. The dedication and commitment shown by Young Carers in providing essential care to their loved ones is truly remarkable and a huge responsibility. 

 

“However, this can have an impact on them academically, socially and emotionally, and it is absolutely vital that organisations not only work to identify Young Carers, but also implement systems to provide the support they need to continue with their studies and provide opportunities for respite.

 

“I would like to thank and congratulate all involved at Coleg y Cymoedd for their fantastic work in continuing their efforts to achieve the Gold Award, and I am sure that they will continue to make a positive difference to the lives of Young Carers attending the college.”

 

The latest 2020-21 figures show that around a fifth of all young carers referred to RCT’s Young Carers’ Service come from schools and colleges, highlighting the number of young people trying to balance studies and care duties. In the last year alone, the service has received 86 referrals.

Coleg y Cymoedd has implemented a number of measures over the last three years to help young people with caring roles at the college. As well as offering learners flexible learning hours, free meals and extra support throughout their college journey,  learners, who are often the primary carer for individuals suffering from serious illness, are also provided with access to counselling and are usually taken on an annual residential trip to give them a break from their responsibilities at home.

Following the restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the college has adapted to implement a number of additional measures to ensure young carers are supported while they are at home. Whereas young carers would usually receive free breakfast and lunch on campus, Coleg y Cymoedd is providing them with financial aid to cover these meals.

The college has set up a digital support group and signed up to mental health support platform, Platfform, to help learners with their wellbeing. It has also arranged regular virtual check-ins, provided learners with laptops and WIFI dongles to ensure they have access to the internet from home, and is in the process of sending out care packages designed to uplift spirits.

Karen Phillips, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Young carers have a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders at home, so it’s always been our mission to do all we can to help make their education experience as smooth as possible.

“As a result of the lockdown, many young carers will have lost the support and respite that they would normally receive and some young people, who may not have been carers before, will have found themselves in caring positions, now supporting family members who have become ill, or helping parents with childcare as schools have been closed. 

“We have worked hard to ensure we have extra support measures in place during this time for these learners and that our staff are equipped to recognise the signs that a learner may be a young carer, so that they can signpost them to appropriate help. We’re incredibly proud to be receiving the gold award – it is a culmination of years of hard work and commitment to continually increasing awareness for young carers and supporting them throughout their time with us.”

Coleg y Cymoedd on track to deliver next generation of rail engineers thanks to partnership with Protech Rail Engineering and Ganymede

One of the largest further education colleges in South Wales has teamed up with leading rail industry names to train the next generation of skilled railway workers and create hundreds of apprenticeships.

Coleg y Cymoedd has partnered up with Protech Rail Engineering – a Treforest-based firm which provides engineering and construction expertise to the UK industry – to create the ‘Protech Training Academy’. The programme is designed to equip the country’s future workforce with the skills and experience needed to meet future demand.

The collaboration will also see Protech Training Academy team up with industry partner Ganymede, a national supplier of rail industry personnel, who will be the first employer to engage with the partnership, providing apprenticeships to learners on the programme. The company has recruited an initial 11 apprentices and is expecting to take on up to 100 over the next two years with opportunities for full time employment following their apprenticeships.

Demand for skilled workers in the rail industry is set to soar following the announcement of multiple major rail infrastructure projects across the UK, as well as concerns over the loss of skills faced by the industry over the next few years due to its aging workforce. Estimates suggests that 28% of current rail industry employees are aged over 50 and City & Guilds predicts that an additional 120,000 people will be required in the sector over the next five to ten years to fulfil the requirements of upcoming schemes.

In Wales alone, Transport for Wales has revealed a ten-year programme of major investments to improve the country’s transport network including three quarters of a billion pounds to electrify the core valley lines as part of the South Wales metro project, £800m to develop new faster, greener trains as well as £194m to improve existing stations and create five brand new stations.

Protech Training Academy will provide learners with industry-standard training and mentorship, delivered at Coleg y Cymoedd’s £3m specialist rail engineering facility in Nantgarw, which includes a state-of-the-art indoor learning centre, full scale outdoor replica railway track and training facilities for overhead line electrification engineering.

Alongside their training, learners will also complete hands-on experience through apprenticeships with Ganymede. The academy looks forward to supporting further labour providers and rail companies with their future recruitment and training needs.

The programme has been developed to ensure learners leave the Protech Training Academy industry-ready with all the skills and knowledge they need to start their careers in the sector.

Daniel Rivers, Managing Director at Protech Rail Engineering and Protech Training Academy, said “With major investments in the rail industry happening all over the country, including the flagship HS2 project, multiple signalling and track renewals, as well as the valleys line transformation here in Wales, the sector presents huge opportunities for future employment. 

“We want to play a role in training and supporting future talent and being based in South Wales, are keen to give back to the community and pass on our experience to young people in the region. Creating the Protech Training Academy will enable us to fulfil these ambitions.

“Our partnership will enable young people in South Wales to develop critically needed skills in a growing sector, helping them improve their employment prospects. It will also help facilitate our own growth as a business as we look to place a drive on our internal recruitment and bolster our team with apprentices in the years to come.”

Following the completion of their training and apprenticeships, learners on the scheme will be able to start work in entry level positions as track operatives with the opportunity to work their way up to a whole host of roles including site managers, engineers, supervisors and health and safety officials.

Stuart Fraser, Accounts Director at Ganymede, said: “Part of our strategy as a business is to create a sustainable supply chain and to work with local businesses and organisations. We are passionate about supporting the community around us and want to do all we can to help young people in South Wales develop successful careers.

“The UK rail industry is continuing to grow, and we are seeing increasing demand for skilled labour in the sector, so it offers a promising career path. We are excited to play a role in providing employment opportunities for the next generation via our apprenticeship scheme with Protech Training Academy and Coleg y Cymoedd.”

Partnering with Protech Training Academy has enabled Coleg y Cymoedd to expand the qualifications it is able to provide to now offer a Level 2 and Level 3 in Rail Engineering and Track Maintenance, something it was previously unable to deliver, enabling learners interested in a career in the rail industry to develop their skills further.

Matthew Tucker, Assistant Principal of Business Services at Coleg y Cymoedd added: “Our exciting new partnership with Protech Training Academy and Ganymede will enable us to ensure our rail centre continues to be at the forefront of creating skilled rail engineers, equipped with the knowledge and training needed for the challenges and requirements of the industry today.

“We are looking forward to having Ganymede join us as a key industry partner in providing crucial apprenticeships to learners at the academy. With major rail investment programmes planned for the next decade across Wales and further afield, we hope these learners will help to serve a large job market in South Wales.

Coleg y Cymoedd to create £5.1m Centre of Sporting Excellence in Nantgarw

Coleg y Cymoedd has revealed plans to transform the provision of sports education for learners in the Rhondda Cynon Taf, with the development of a brand new multi-million-pound sports training and teaching facility in Nantgarw.

The college’s new £5.1m Centre of Sporting Excellence, funded entirely by Coleg y Cymoedd, will consist of a two-storey building featuring a sports hall, fully equipped gym and classroom teaching facilities.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s investment at the Nantgarw campus is necessitated by year-on-year increased demand from individuals wanting to enrol on courses offered by its highly respected sports department, and will ensure that all learners have access to the highest standards of equipment and training opportunities.

While the new classroom and teaching resources are primarily intended for learners undertaking sports and public services courses, the expanded facilities will provide additional teaching spaces for a range of subject areas.

Established in 2012, Coleg y Cymoedd’s sports school has developed a name for itself as a leading provider of sports education in South Wales. A number of esteemed academies are delivered out of the Nantgarw campus including its flagship Rugby Union academy, run in conjunction with the Cardiff Blues, which has produced Welsh international players such as Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes and most recently, Beth Huntely, who has just been called into the women’s six nation squad 2021. Successful men’s football and women’s netball teams also operate out of the school.

While sports learners and academy members receive the academic elements of their courses on campus, practical activity is currently conducted off site, with learners having to travel to partner organisations and council run facilities such as the University of South Wales sports park and Pontypridd RFC.

The new facility, which is designed to improve learners’ abilities in a variety of sports, will provide state-of-the-art performance training facilities and academic teaching all on one site.

The Centre will primarily be used to house Sports and Public Services learners along with the college’s high-performance sports academies. Learners undertaking fitness instructor and personal training qualifications will also benefit from the facilities.

In addition to this, the facilities will also be made available to other courses on Wednesdays as part of the college’s Boost programme, which gives learners the opportunity to undertake extracurricular activities alongside their studies. The college also hopes to expand the use of the facilities to offer further wellbeing courses like yoga and fitness classes to learners across the campus to help benefit their physical and mental health.

Designed by Austin Smith Lord architects to act as a ‘marker building’ at the entrance to Parc Nantgarw, the Centre of Sporting Excellence will be built on an un-used and un-maintained patch of land that sits opposite Coleg y Cymoedd’s existing campus on the perimeter of the Treforest Industrial estate.

Karen Phillips, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Our new sports facility will provide a high-quality education facility for the campus and young people in the region, allowing us to cater more extensively to our sports learners.

“The development will also make good use of an otherwise vacant and unmaintained site. In doing so, this redevelopment will make significant improvements to the landscape and visual appearance of the area, while enhancing the value of the site by bringing benefits to the local community and economy.”

In addition to benefitting learners, the facility will also help to reduce the college’s carbon footprint and improve its sustainability as, with facilities on site,  it will negate the need for sports learners to be transported to other locations for their daily activities.

Solar panels and rain gardens will be included within the development to provide energy and drainage respectively, while wind catchers will be incorporated into the design to promote natural ventilation. Electric vehicle charging points will also be included as part of the college’s commitment to improving its carbon footprint.

Construction work on the site, led by WRW construction, is due to break ground in March, and the development is scheduled to be completed in June 2022.

College learner to support domestic abuse survivors with painting and decorating services

A domestic abuse survivor has been inspired by her experience to set up her own painting and decorating business to help support other victims of abuse.

Having suffered years of abuse at the hands of an ex-partner, Carrie Seymour, 37, from Caerphilly, now feels uncomfortable having men working at her home – something she found difficult while undergoing house renovations. Her experience has motivated her to support other women facing similar situations by offering services as a female painter and decorator.

The mother of five has decided to return to education, joining Coleg y Cymoedd to retrain in the field with a painting and decorating qualification at its Ystrad Mynach campus.

Carrie’s interest in the trade stemmed from years of undergoing renovation projects as a hobby while raising her children. However, following her experience of domestic violence, Carrie’s confidence took a huge hit, and she faced a number of difficulties with her mental, physical, and emotional well-being, initially preventing her from taking her passion any further

Carrie said: “I had always enjoyed doing painting and decorating projects such as renovating my children’s bedrooms or helping friends put up new wallpaper. Seeing the finished work would make me feel really proud and I knew that it was something that I wanted to pursue further career wise.

“However, after my experience with domestic violence, my confidence was badly affected. I had a lot of self-doubt and felt too afraid to go after my personal goals and ambitions.”

In December 2017, following a long period of violent encounters with her ex-partner Carrie sought support from Llamau, a charity dedicated to helping young people and vulnerable women facing homelessness. With a place to stay and people to talk to, Carrie was able to begin the process of rebuilding her life away from her abuser and raising her children as a single mum.

Fast forward four years and Carrie has since regained her confidence and the determination to focus on herself and her career. Initially applying for a teaching assistant role, she quickly changed her mind and decided to pursue her long standing ambition of forging a career in painting and decorating.

She added: “Even though I’ve come a long way since leaving my former partner a few years ago, I still feel uncomfortable having men do work around the home. This made me realise how there are other women out there who will have been or are in the same situation that I was. I want to use my skills as a female painter and decorator to help make these individuals feel more at ease.”

With this mission in mind, Carrie hopes to support domestic violence survivors by creating her very own painting and decorating business in the near future following the successful completion of her qualifications. She is set to finish her Foundation Painting & Decorating Level 1 course this summer and begin her Level 2 qualification later this year.

David Williams, Construction Lecturer and Carrie’s tutor at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “For Carrie to turn such a negative situation into a positive one for herself and others is amazing and as her tutor, I am really proud.

“The college and I are committed to doing everything we can to support Carrie with her ambitions and ensure she succeeds in her future venture as a painter and decorator. Her determination to help other women going through domestic violence is truly inspiring, and we are looking forward to seeing Carrie’s success.”

College welcomes £100k investment in gaming suites and new courses to propel students into industry

A £50k investment has seen the creation of an industry-standard gaming suite at the Aberdare campus with sector specific computers and equipment used by a range of professionals in the field, from programmers and designers to video game testers and sound engineers.

Following the creation of the gaming facility at Aberdare, the college is also in the process of developing a bespoke IT and animation room at its Rhondda campus with a further £50k investment, which will enhance the skills of creative learners studying the games art, design and animation qualifications. The new facilities will help to prepare learners for a successful future career in the lucrative gaming industry, estimated to be worth more than £3.86 billion in the UK alone and over £117 billion worldwide. Jobs in gaming are predicted to increase threefold by 2025 resulting in growing demand for skilled workers in the sector.

In response to this, Coleg y Cymoedd’s Creative Industries and Computing and Engineering departments have joined forces to offer learners an all-encompassing curriculum tailored to meet the demands of the booming gaming industry.

The new gaming room at Aberdare coincides with the launch of two new courses at the college focusing on Game Development and IT, and Game Design, Art and Animation.

Qualifications in Game Development and IT, provided by the college’s Computing and Engineering department, will be offered at its Aberdare and Ystrad Mynach campuses. Learners on these courses, which will teach the fundamental skills needed for video game development, will benefit from the industry equipment and resources that the new gaming room will provide.

Based at the Rhondda campus, the qualification in Game Design, Art and Animation offered via the Creative Industries department will have a finer focus on the design elements of video game development, teaching learners about the latest industry design trends and technology as well as the technical skills needed to succeed in the field.

David Howells, Head of Coleg y Cymoedd’s Computing and Engineering school, said: We are excited to introduce our new gaming qualifications and welcome our first cohort of learners to our new specialist gaming suite. These courses and facilities will help give learners the skills they need to enter the growing gaming industry.

We are seeing huge demand for digital skills from employers and the gaming industry in particular is seeing an increase in popularity both in our local community and around the world. It is important to us that we match the rapid development of this sector, and the growing interest in careers within it, with suitable qualifications that will give learners the transferrable digital skills they need to prosper in the gaming industry.

The collaboration between the Creative Industries and Computing and Engineering departments at Coleg y Cymoedd marks the first of further plans at the college designed to place it at the forefront of digital and gaming teaching provisions.

As well as providing learners with access to state-of-the-art industry equipment and training from specialist tutors with valuable industry experience, the college is also encouraging cross-curriculum collaboration on courses which cross over both departments, such as video game audio commentary, further boosting learners’ skillsets.

Rory Meredith, Head of School for the Creative Industries at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: Our new course provisions will help to meet the growing appetite for gaming that we are seeing from both learners and industry. By working together across departments, we can ensure learners develop the full repertoire of skills they will need to enter the modern gaming industry, helping prepare them for potential careers in a range of different roles.

In addition to investments in new facilities, Coleg y Cymoedd is also planning to launch its own Sports team to give learners further hands-on experience, with a goal to compete nationally.

The world of video game tournaments has gained prominence in recent years and is recognised and supported by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. With a number of major competitions such as the 2021 British Esports Championships and UK League Championships, the new team will provide learners across the college with the opportunity to get involved in this emerging industry regardless of their course background.

To find out more about Coleg Y Cymoedd’s Games Art, Design and Development courses visit: https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/en/courses/?Keyword=game

Aberdare

Wellington Street
Aberdare
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF44 8EN

Nantgarw

Heol y Coleg
Parc Nantgarw
Cardiff
CF15 7QY

Rhondda

Llwynypia
Tonypandy
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF40 2TQ

Ystrad Mynach

Twyn Road
Ystrad Mynach
Hengoed
CF82 7XR

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