Cymoedd Alumnus secures Bronze at Paralympics

Former Cymoedd learner Thomas Matthews secured a Bronze medal at his Paralympic debut in Tokyo, in the Men’s Singles (Class1) Table Tennis competition.

Tom (29) from Cwmbach, Aberdare studied at the Ystrad Mynach campus, where he completed his first year in carpentry.

At the time Tom was a keen sportsman, with an exciting future in mountain biking, but an accident when out riding, left him wheelchair bound.

Whilst undergoing treatment at Rookwood Hospital, he was encouraged to try table tennis and the rest is history! Tom has an impressive list of successful wins, representing GB at Major Championships and in 2017, moved from the GB Pathway Squad to the GB Performance Squad.

Speaking on his success at the Tokyo Games Tom said “It’s been an amazing experience, I’m so proud to have been part of Paralympics GB”.

Adult learner endorses Apprenticeship Programme

Martin Room (58) from Caerphilly cannot speak highly enough of the benefits of studying, whatever your age. At 16 years of age, Martin left Bedwas Comprehensive School and attended The College, Ystrad Mynach, where he achieved a City & Guilds qualification in Bricklaying.

However, with the downturn in the building industry he found himself moving from job to job to support his family, but always remained eager to seek opportunities to further his career within the role.

His latest career move resulted in employment at Pullman Rail where he has worked as a Semi -Skilled Fitter for 7 years. Keen to progress within the organisation he was fortunate when an opportunity arose to apply for the NVQ Level 3 course; he passed the exam and enrolled on the NVQ Level 3 in Rail Engineering, Traction and Rolling Stock.

Speaking about the course Martin said, “Studying through the pandemic posed its own challenges due to the lockdown restrictions but I would definitely recommend Coleg y Cymoedd – despite the difficulties, the tutor was always available to provide support through various channels. I have now completed the course and received my NVQ Level 3 certificate.

Since completing the qualification, I have received promotion to a Skilled Fitter plus a pay rise, so I am already seeing the benefit of studying, you are never too old to study – Life is about learning experiences. This one has given me a huge sense of achievement and confidence, under the circumstances, my age, having completed the course in the middle of a global pandemic – it just goes to show you are never too old to learn and your life experience skills help.

Stephen Manning, Work Based Learning NVQ Assessor (Aviation/Engineering) at Coleg y Cymoedd said “It’s been a pleasure supporting Martin through his qualification, it has been a difficult time studying through the ‘lockdown’; he has worked so hard. He truly is an inspiration to his colleagues at Pullmans, providing practical support and motivation to complete the course”.

Scott McCarthy, Training Manager at Pullman Rail added “At Pullman Rail we are committed to providing a first class training programme for our staff. The Adult Learning Programme has proved a huge success; working in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd for over eight years, we have seen ten employees complete the course with a further eighteen enrolled on the course this month. Martin is a great example of the benefits of the programme, his endorsement of the programme has given his colleagues the confidence and determination to complete the course.

Salford Welcome first three players through Wales Rugby League and Coleg y Cymoedd partnership

Wales Rugby League and Coleg y Cymoedd are delighted that Salford Red Devils have welcomed in the first three players through our partnership with the Super League club.

Ieuan Roberts, Jake Lee and Joe Coope-Franklin will join the club’s reserve Squad for 2022. The trio visited the AJ Bell Stadium on Wednesday to meet key club staff and tour the stadium, in advance of their move to the North West of England next month.

All three players have been studying and playing rugby league at the WRL National Development Academy at Coleg y Cymoedd, with Coope-Franklin, 19, beginning his rugby league career there after switching from rugby union.

Roberts, who turns 20 this month, came through the Aber Valley Wolves club in Caerphilly and has won caps for Wales U19 and Wales Students.

Lee, who turned 19 last month, also came through the Wolves junior set-up whilst also playing once for Cardiff Blue Dragons. He has won caps for Wales U16, U19 and Wales Students.

The three players will join the Salford Red Devils reserve Squad for pre-season training, combining their rugby development with their studies at the University of Central Lancashire.  They have been identified by Paul Rowley, Stuart Wilkinson and Ian Blease during national training camps and their performances within the Wales international pathway programme.

Paul Trainor, Executive Director of the club said “We are really pleased to welcome Ieuan, Jake and Joe to the club. They have greatly impressed Paul, Stuart and Ian during their visits to Wales. It was great to meet the lads and their families to discuss the plans that will be in place for when they join the Reserve set up for pre-season.”

Paul Rowley, Head of Talent and Pathways said: “Our Welsh partnership has gone from strength to strength and these boys are another example of that.

“From talent identification and development by Stu Wilkinson to housing and educational support by Paul Trainor, these boys have been given a wonderful opportunity to continue the tradition of Welsh stars pulling on the Salford jersey.

“We have complete confidence that each of the lads have both the ability and strength of character to be successful rugby league players and are very confident these athletes will be the first of many as our work in Wales continues.”

Mark Jones, Head Coach of the Wales Rugby League National Development Academy, added: “Coleg y Cymoedd’s partnership with Salford Red Devils and Wales Rugby League is truly flourishing and I am elated for Ieuan, Jake, Joe and Ryan who are the first players to come through this new rugby league pathway. They are a testament to all the hard work the Salford, Cymoedd and Wales Rugby League staff have put in over the last 12 months.

“With Salford Red Devils’ history of signing Welsh players, we knew it was a natural fit for Coleg y Cymoedd and the WRL National Development Academy and I am looking forward to the new Welsh boys signing their contracts with Salford in the next few months.

“I would also like to thank UCLAN for all their support and we are looking forward to working with them over the next few years.

“We are the only college in Wales that offers a full time rugby league programme alongside a student’s education and Welsh players definitely now have a direct pathway to achieve their dreams of playing Super League.”

If you are interested in attending the Cymoedd Rugby League Academy please take a look at the presentation at National Development Academy Coleg y Cymoedd then complete an online application form HERE and you will then receive a reply outlining what needs to be done next to secure your place.

Cymoedd learner awarded Worshipful Livery Company of Wales Award

One of Cymoedd’s top-performing learners has received the prestigious Worshipful Livery Company of Wales Award in recognition of her excellent examination results during a very difficult period due to the pandemic.

Leah Morgan, 18, achieved top A-level grades in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics and secured a place at Swansea University where she will learn to work with radiation therapy.

Leah, from Bedwas, is one of a handful of learners in Wales to be awarded an NHS Bursary which will see her tuition fees paid for by NHS Wales and Welsh Government, and a job working in nuclear medicine guaranteed upon completion of her degree.

Mr. Geoff Hughes, Past Master of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, visited the colleges’ Nantgarw campus to present the Award to Leah, together with a cheque for £250.

Mr Hughes explained that the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales was initially formed as the Welsh Livery Guild in 1993 by members of the City of London Livery Companies, who wished to extend the Livery traditions within Wales, rewarding talented students to encourage them to develop their skills in Higher Education and Employment.

He added that a primary aim of The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales is to promote education, science, technology and the arts in Wales via the School/Colleges Awards which are presented to students who have achieved outstanding results, often in difficult circumstances.

Congratulating Leah, Mr Hughes said: “Leah has demonstrated via her determination, hard work and excellent examination results that she is a worthy recipient of this year’s award. It has been really interesting speaking with Leah to hear how her love of science, family experiences and commitment to helping other people inspired her choice of course and career path. On behalf of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, I wish her every success in her future studies and career”.

Ian Rees, Director of A-Levels, said: “This award is testament to Leah’s hard work and motivation. Staff at the A Level Centre are extremely proud of her achievements during her time at the college. She secured excellent results and has set her sights on a career to help and treat cancer patients and those suffering from neurological conditions. Despite the challenging situation, she knew the grades required and worked hard to achieve them. We wish her every success for the future.

.Speaking after receiving her award, Leah said: “I am so proud to receive this award and would like to thank the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales and also the tutors at the college for all their help and support. It has been difficult studying through Covid, especially during the lockdowns, but when I received my conditional offer from Swansea University, it showed me that I could make the grades and gave me the motivation I needed”.

Thanking Mr. Hughes and the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, Principal Karen Phillips said: “We are grateful to the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales for their continued support of our learners. Leah has worked so hard and deserves the recognition and Award. Throughout her time at the college, she has been keen to get involved with all aspects of college life, including representing the learners at our Academic Board meetings. I’m sure she will excel in her studies and we wish her good luck for the 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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