Cymoedd Alumnus supports A-Level learners

Director of A-Levels, Ian Rees, recently had the pleasure of catching up with Coleg y Cymoedd A-Level Centre alumnus, Calum Haggett, in Magdalen College, Oxford, where they enjoyed high tea against the illustrious backdrop of the Senior Common Room! 

Calum, who is originally from the Rhondda, completed a degree in Biomedical Sciences at Imperial College, London, before winning a place as a postgraduate at the prestigious Oxford College to study Clinical Medicine, and is now well on his way to qualifying as a doctor.

Calum has maintained regular contact with the College and, in partnership with A-Level Centre staff, continues to offer help, advice and guidance to current Cymoedd learners on the Stretch and Challenge programme who are applying for STEM degrees at Oxbridge. In particular, he has run a series of on-line tutorials to help prepare Cymoedd learners for the challenging Admissions Tests sat by Oxford applicants. 

Speaking about his support for the Cymoedd learners, Calum said: “Studying A-Levels at Coleg y Cymoedd was a brilliant learning experience for me, providing a great foundation for the academic path I have since followed. A-Level Centre staff were tremendously supportive of me personally, and so it’s good for me now to be in a position to give something back to the College by offering support to some of the current MAT learners with their applications.”

Thanking Calum for his ongoing support for the A-Level Centre, Ian said: “Calum was an exceptional student during his time at Coleg y Cymoedd, and it’s fantastic for current A-Level learners to be able to benefit from his considerable experience and expertise. Everybody in the A-Level Centre would like to wish Calum every success with his current studies and in his future career.”

Cymoedd Hairdressing alumnus shortlisted for a top UK award

‘Professional staff and excellent facilities’ provided the successful pathway for twenty six year old Salon owner Ross Davies from Llantrisant, who is now a finalist in the UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022 to be held in March.

When Ross left school he enrolled on an Art & Design course at Coleg y Cymoedd but soon realised his true passion was Hairdressing. He changed his career path and enrolled on a Barbering course at the Nantgarw campus. After completing this course Ross wanted something more from a hair career and quickly adapted into working with ladies hair.

The transition went well and the college secured a work placement at a local salon where Ross progressed to a Work Based Learning course to complete his Level 2 Hairdressing qualification. This provided Ross with the opportunity to experience the best mix of real life industry standards and also the support of the college, where he completed the theory work and examinations.

Following his successful completion of the Level 2 qualification at Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus he enrolled on the Level 3 Hairdressing qualification and hasn’t looked back. With his Level 3 qualification and the experience of working in a salon he took a leap and decided to open his own salon.

Commenting on his success Ross said “When I visited Coleg y Cymoedd it became apparent from the start that the college would be able to provide the experience I needed, as the range of equipment available was outstanding; it was like working in a professional salon.  I will be forever grateful to have had such a wonderful course tutor who helped me increase my confidence in areas I required for a successful career in the sector.

Even through the pandemic when we were unable to attend the campus, the college arranged for us to access a suite of courses on the L’Oréal training site.

In May 2021 I took a big decision to relocate to a completely new location and Ross Alexander Hair salon was established in Tonypandy. I’m pleased to say that it proved to be a good decision. The business continues to grow and I’m delighted to have my sister working alongside me, providing make-up within the salon. 

In December I was awarded a 5 star salon rating by ‘Good Salon Guide’ recognised for providing ‘only the best service’ and I was also informed that I’d made it as a finalist in the UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022 which take place in March 2022. I’m completely overwhelmed that out of all the salons in the UK I was awarded a Finalist title, nominated for two awards Best New Salon UK 2022 and Best Salon Decor UK 2022 

Congratulating Ross, Hairdressing Tutor Joanne Harris said” I am delighted to hear that Ross has already received an Award for the service he offers at his new salon and that he’s also a finalist in the UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022. He’s always shown a flair and passion for hairdressing, eager to learn new skills. Given the top class décor at his salon and the professional service that he offers I’m sure he will do well at the Awards …..we wish him good luck for the Awards and for the future success of the business”.

Caerphilly teenager awarded a place on prestigious writing programme

A college learner from Caerphilly, is one step closer to achieving her dreams of becoming a screenwriter after securing a place on a prestigious writing programme held at a world-renowned literature festival.

Coleg y Cymoedd learner Cerys Baker, 16, is one of only twenty learners to have been selected to take part in the Beacons Project – a specialist writing programme for 16-18 year old aspiring Welsh writers and journalists held at Hay-on-Wye’s famous Hay Festival.

Hundreds of learners from schools and colleges across Wales applied to take part in a programme of creative workshops, discussions and events aimed at developing young writers’ writing skills. Participants on the scheme are also given the chance to meet and work with professional writers, broadcasters and journalists to inspire their creative writing and provide them with insights into a career in the industry.

Cerys, who is currently completing her AS levels in Film Studies, Psychology and Sociology, and English Literature and Language, hopes to one day become a professional screenwriter, inspired by her favourite writers including New York Times bestselling author Rick Rordian. After taking part in the Beacons Project, the teenager’s confidence to pursue her dream career has grown.

Cerys said: “The Beacons Project was an incredible experience. The talks, workshops and writing activities we took part in over the course of the four-day programme were fascinating, and I learnt so much.

“Taking part in the programme reignited my passion for reading and writing, and I now feel more confident than ever about my creative writing skills.”

Cerys beat hundreds of other writers to secure her place on the project after submitting a piece of her own original creative writing and answering questions on her reading and writing interests.

Former participants of the Hay Festival Beacons Project have gone on to have successful careers in creative writing, publishing, and the media, including the award-winning poet and playwright, Owen Sheers who attended this year’s creative writing residency.

Cerys was given the opportunity to meet the acclaimed Welsh poet and playwright alongside established British historian and author Hallie Rubenhold.

Cerys added: “Taking part in talks and workshops from professionals in the industry such as novelist, journalist and broadcaster Elizabeth Day and Amika George, a young writer, activist and campaigner against period poverty in the UK, was incredibly inspiring.

“Seeing the successful careers they’ve gone on to have in the literary industry goes to show how amazing an opportunity the Beacons Project is. I’m excited to take everything I’ve learnt from the experience and follow my dream career of becoming a screenwriter.”


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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