Accounting apprentice shortlisted for back to back awards

A Coleg y Cymoedd learner has been shortlisted for a national accounting award for the second year running after impressing judges with his skills and passion for the industry.

Jordan Harley, a level 4 Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) apprentice at the college has made the shortlist for the Accounts Technician of the year category at this year’s Finance Awards Wales, which recognises and celebrates the talents of Welsh finance professionals.

The talented learner is no stranger to awards success after he was not only shortlisted but won, the very same award in 2021. He is now hoping for a two-year winning streak.

Jordan’s manager decided to put him forward for the award again after being impressed with his hard work and commitment during his apprenticeship. 

Originally studying business at university after completing his A levels, Jordan was exposed to a number of accounting modules during his degree which inspired him to pursue a career in the sector. He then decided to follow his newfound passion and enrolled on an accounting apprenticeship at Coleg y Cymoedd.

Following the shortlist announcement, to be in with a chance of winning, Jordan will now have to put together a presentation on why he should win the award and take part in an interview with the judging panel which will be completed before the ceremony.

The winners for each category will be announced at an award ceremony at Cardiff’s City Hall on the 24th of June.

Jordan said: “When I was nominated and shortlisted for the first award, I couldn’t believe it. I was overwhelmed with pride. Presenting to a panel of judges was a scary but brilliant experience. It developed my skills and was a great feeling to have my hard work recognised.

“Following my success last year, I thought ‘why not apply again?’ I’m thrilled to have made the shortlist again and am looking forward to the finals.” 

Looking ahead, Jordan hopes to complete an accredited course with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) after his apprenticeship before taking on a full-time position at an accountancy firm.

Cymoedd tutor wins national Work Welsh Award

Cymoedd Tutor Fiona Hennah from Newport has scooped Foundation Level Learner of the Year at this years’ Work Welsh Awards.

Fiona, a Science lecturer who teaches on the Access to Higher Education programme at the college, is an enthusiastic Welsh learner and is currently on her second year of the FE Work Welsh (Foundation 1) FE course. She has made a great deal of progress in her learning and use of the Welsh language.

Fiona Hennah

The FE Work Welsh project is funded by the National Centre for Learning Welsh through the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and coordinated by ColegauCymru and its aim is to support lecturers in FE colleges to use the Welsh language confidently in the classroom. The programme consists of 120 hours of training and is based on a combination of teaching sessions, 1-1 mentoring sessions, observation of lecturer’s teaching and independent study. The training is delivered by the College’s Work Welsh Language Tutor, Alison Kitson.

Fiona’s interest in learning Welsh stemmed from the desire to converse with her family, especially her young nieces; who attend Welsh medium schools. Fiona enjoys spending time chatting, reading and even singing with them and ultimately learning a lot from them.

She incorporates Welsh into her teaching resources, and shares English to Welsh Glossaries of Scientific Terms with all her students. She also finds and shares Welsh-medium resources in her subject, to help her Welsh first-language students. 

Fiona provides bi-lingual written feedback to all her learners when marking assignments, and encourages non Welsh speakers to learn Welsh too.

Congratulating Fiona, Alison Kitson, Work Welsh Tutor at the college said “This is a well-deserved award, Fiona is so enthusiastic about learning Welsh and inspires and supports other people to learn Welsh too. She also has a great interest in Welsh music and culture and shares lots of news items, music video clips on the College’s Staff Welsh Learners’ website”.

Commenting on her Award, Fiona said “I’m delighted to have won this Award, it means so much to me. I really enjoy learning Welsh and have to thank my excellent tutor – Alison Kitson, for being so patient with me”.

Meet the Team: Dominic and Vanessa

Here we speak to two of our creative industry tutors to find out more about their backgrounds and their top tips for learners.

At Coleg y Cymoedd, we are lucky enough to have an extremely high calibre of industry professionals within our staff, especially in our creative department.

Dominic Farquar has recently joined the college as a creative industries lecturer following five years working within the film sector as a grip – the person responsible for setting up and rigging the camera equipment on set.

During his career, Dominic has worked on a range of award-winning television programmes and films including Doctor Who, War of the Worlds, Netflix’s Sex Education, Star Wars, Maleficent and the Downtown Abbey film. 

He brings with him experience in grip and camera work, which learners studying creative and digital media production courses will benefit from.

Dominic joins a team of talented professionals with industry experience, including Vanessa Batten, who has been at the college for over a decade. Vanessa is Coleg y Cymoedd’s long-standing animation specialist on the level 3 and 4 diplomas in Foundation Art and Design. She is also the course leader on the college’s new level 3 Game Art, design and Animation course, based out of a specialist digital studio at the Rhondda campus. 

At the beginning of the year, Vanessa, who works part-time at Coleg y Cymoedd, joined Aardman Animation studios, where she works as a producer and foundation course leader at the Aardman Animation Academy, alongside her college role.  

Since joining the company, she has been involved in a number of projects including creating an online model making course with model makers from the firm as well as supporting Aardman Academy’s Stop Motion industry training programmes, which has seen her take part in weekly Q&A sessions with multi award winning directors like Nick Park and Will Becher – the names behind famous productions like Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep.

Currently, she is working with Netflix, in association with Aardman, to develop outreach programmes designed to inspire younger generations to join the creative industry. 

Alongside Coleg y Cymoedd, Vanessa worked as a freelance live studio artist and production artist for BBC’s Life Drawing Live, and as an associate animation lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

For those of you thinking about pursuing careers in TV, film and animation, Vanessa and Dominic’s advice is to start off by finding a course that you love and inspires you and to work hard.

Vanessa said: “As the industry is constantly changing, it’s important to be adaptable and be willing to try new things. This shows that you can problem solve and find new ways to challenge yourself. Be ambitious and get as much experience as you can, this can be volunteering for projects, attending events and getting to know fellow people in the industry to see how it all works.”

Dominic’s top tip is to always be enthusiastic and follow your passion.

He said: “Coming into teaching straight from the industry benefits my learners as I have fresh knowledge and skills to bring to my lessons as well as advice and tips on how to make it into the industry. I know first-hand what employers are looking for and a demonstratable passion for thr industry and willingness to put in the work goes a long way.”

Vanessa added: “There is often the misconception that the creative industry is small and that there are very limited jobs available within it, but that is not the case. The industry is booming and there are a wealth of opportunities available – it is possible to make a career doing what you love!

“Connections are key in the industry so reach out to people and be friendly with everyone you meet.  Always go the extra mile to explore your creativity and ambition but don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help and guidance!”


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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