New opportunities to learn Welsh

Coleg y Cymoedd is taking part in a pilot scheme for learners to learn Welsh for free during their time in college. Launched by SaySomethinginWelsh and the National Centre for Learning Welsh, this project is offered to all learners who express an interest in developing their Welsh language skills. The online course can be studied at the learner’s own pace and level. 35 learners have signed up to the scheme to date, either as individual learners or as a class who will learn as a group.

Aran Jones, founder of SaySomethinginWelsh said “There is an exciting new experiment happening in seven colleges and schools in Wales during the autumn term this year – access to a new learning tool by SaySomethinginWelsh called ‘Automagic’. This tool focuses on spoken language, and improves the learners’ speaking skills through many mini-exercises where the learner hears an English prompt and has to say it in Welsh. It’s possible to learn for as little or as much time as they like, and it’s possible to choose an intensity level by answering a question about how you feel – if you feel ‘Okay’, you’ll get easier exercises than you would if you chose ‘Amazing’. The reception so far has been very positive, and we hope this experiment will lead the way in helping everyone in English-medium education reach a level where they are very confident communicating in Welsh.  ”

Karen Workman, Coleg y Cymoedd’s Vice Principal/Chief Operating Officer added: “Coleg y Cymoedd is thrilled to a part of this project with SaySomethinginWelsh and the National Centre for Learning Welsh. This is a wonderful opportunity for our learners to learn Welsh and the response so far has been positive. It is part of the College’s wider strategy to develop learners’ Welsh language skills during their time in college and to strengthen learners’ connection to their own culture and history. It also complements the opportunities available for our staff to learn Welsh, through the Work Welsh FE project, funded by the National Centre for Learning Welsh through the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.”

When asked why he wanted to learn Welsh, one of the learners, Kyan Dyer currently studying Entry Level 3 Professional Cookery, answered, “I want to learn about my own culture and language, and I feel that it would also open up more opportunities for me by learning Welsh”.

Cymoedd learner awarded ‘The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales’ Award

A Cymoedd learner from the ‘A Level Class of 2022’ has received The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales Award in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements.

The college was delighted to welcome Mr. Geoff Hughes, Past Master of The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales accompanied by Liveryman, Miss Margaret Davies, to the Nantgarw campus to present the Award and a cheque for £250 to Brooke Pothecary.

Brooke, 18, from Porth studied at the college’s A Level Centre achieving an impressive three A* grades in English, Drama and Religious Studies alongside an A in the Welsh Baccalaureate, securing her place to study Italian and Japanese at Cardiff University. The A* learner, who is passionate about exploring new places, has developed a love of languages during her travels over the years and dreams of becoming an Italian language teacher in Australia, where Italian speaking staff are in demand.

Presenting the Award, Mr. Geoff Hughes, congratulated Brooke on her A Level results and on securing a place at Cardiff University. He explained one of the primary aims of The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales is to promote education in Wales and the ‘School Awards’ provide the opportunity to recognise learners who have achieved outstanding results.

Speaking after the presentation Brooke said, “I am proud to receive this Award in recognition of my A Level results; I was so happy to have achieved the grades that I needed to secure my place at Cardiff university and have to thank all the tutors at the college for their support. I am so excited to start my course in October”.

Commenting on Brooke’s achievements and the Award, Jonathan Morgan, Principal said, “We are so proud of Brooke. This is a great achievement for her, and I know that she has worked hard to achieve the grades required by Cardiff. We wish her every success for the future and I’m sure, given her commitment, she will achieve her ambition. I hope that Brooke will stay in touch with the college to inspire future learners. I would like to thank The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales; we are grateful for their continued support of Cymoedd learners and I’m sure they would agree – Brooke is a worthy recipient of the Award”.

Coleg y Cymoedd are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty

Coleg y Cymoedd are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Our community sends sincere condolences to King Charles III and the Royal Family.

This week, in line with official guidance for education, all teaching and learning will continue as usual, providing all students with the most supportive and welcoming start to their academic year.

We will be closed on Monday 19th September 2022, as a Bank Holiday, to mark the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Coleg y Cymoedd announces Jonathan Morgan as its new Principal

One of Wales’ largest and top performing further education colleges, Coleg y Cymoedd, has appointed Jonathan Morgan as its next Principal and Chief Executive.

Mr Morgan, who has served as Coleg y Cymoedd’s Vice Principal and Chief Operating Officer for the past three years, succeeded former Principal, Karen Phillips, who retired in September 2022.

With over 25 years’ experience in education, including 20 at Coleg y Cymoedd (formerly known as College Ystrad Mynach), Mr Morgan has spent the last five years working within strategic leadership roles at the college, where he has overseen a range of curriculum areas alongside finance, people and culture, and digital transformation projects.

Mr Morgan’s tenure as Vice Principal and Chief Operating Officer also included the overseeing of several major infrastructure projects, including the £3.9 million refurbishment of the Rhondda campus in 2021 and the further £8.3 refurbishment of the Ystrad Mynach campus that took place this year.

As Vice Principal and Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan has been credited for the leading role he has played in guiding the college’s response through the COVID-19 pandemic. That unprecedented time saw him manage all communications with external partners, colleagues, and trade unions, in addition to his work developing the curriculum to safeguard access to education during the pandemic.

Prior to entering the education sector, Mr Morgan first had a successful career as a professional footballer for Cardiff City Football Club, boasting over 70 first team appearances in division two, the Football League, FA Cup, League Cup, Welsh Cup, and European Cup Winners Cup. In 1996, Welsh football’s loss became education’s gain, when a recurring injury cut his football career short, forcing him to take early retirement aged just 26.

Thankfully, Jonathan was prepared for that transition. From the age of 22, he played semi-professional football whilst gaining a first-class honors degree in Recreation and Leisure Management, followed by a masters in Sport and Leisure Studies and then a PGCE.

Mr Morgan, who is originally from Cardiff, initially took several sports teaching posts at various colleges around London, before the inevitable desire to return to his home country prompted the move back to Wales in 2002 to join College Ystrad Mynach as Deputy Head of Faculty.

Commenting on his appointment and plans for the college’s future, Jonathan Morgan said: “I’m extremely privileged and excited to be the next principal of Coleg y Cymoedd. My last two decades have already allowed me to play key roles in helping the college go from strength to strength. This included including ensuring that we continued to deliver high quality education during the pandemic – a really tough time across the education sector – which our strong learner results have been testament to.”

Mr Morgan’s vision for Coleg y Cymoedd’s future will see a focus on bringing back more face-to-face teaching for learners, following feedback from staff, learners and employers, while retaining the ability to teach digitally, with the college planning to lend learners over 2,000 laptops to support them in their studies.

Mr Morgan is also committed to improving the college’s sustainability and implementing a digital strategy to guarantee learners leave with the skills sought after by employers.

He added: “The world of work is changing rapidly as a result of technological changes including automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. It’s important to me that our teaching helps learners to enter employment fully equipped with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to succeed in their chosen career path.

“I had an unconventional start to my career, leaving school at 15 to start a football apprenticeship with Cardiff City. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to follow my dreams and play professional football for my hometown club before turning to education so I recognise that every learners starts their academic journey differently. This is why I believe it is essential to allow Welsh learners the chance to find the education and training paths that best suit their needs including apprenticeships and vocational routes.

“For those looking to pursue academic routes, we want to support learners to go on to top universities and I am extremely passionate about tackling social mobility, ensuring learners from more deprived areas have the same opportunities”.

Welcoming Mr Morgan into the role, Ms Phillips, serving Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Jonathan has already played a great part in the college’s strategic direction and I have no doubt that this will continue as he steps into the role of Principal. While I am sad to leave, I do so safe in the knowledge that our college is will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Cymoedd ‘pilot’ for Welsh speaking learners is a success

Leaving school and starting a course at college is exciting but it can also be an anxious time for learners, that’s why each year the college hold ‘Transition’ days which have proved successful. 

This year for the first time, Coleg y Cymoedd held a week of transition events focussing specifically on learners from Welsh-medium schools. The events, held on the college’s four campuses at Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda and Ystrad Mynach were enjoyed by 26 Welsh speaking learners who have enrolled on various courses across the college.

The sessions provided an opportunity for the learners to get to know other learners on their campus who speak Welsh, find out about the opportunities to use and develop their Welsh language skills in and out of the classroom and learn about their rights as a Welsh speaker at the college.

Current Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Ambassadors, Lilia, Llinos and Sophia, helped facilitate the event on the Nantgarw campus; participating in the ice-breaker activities and accompanying the learners on a tour of the campus.

Lowri and Osian, officers from Menter Iaith Caerffili and Menter Iaith Rhondda Cynon Taf held interactive workshops with the learners to discuss ideas on what kind of activities should be offered to young Welsh speakers in the area. The learners also received information regarding volunteering opportunities and the work of the Mentrau Iaith in general.

Lois Roberts, Welsh Language Manager at the college said “It’s been an amazing week! This is the first time we’ve offered such an event so we weren’t sure whether it would appeal to learners, but it’s been great.

It’s a good opportunity to get to know the Welsh speaking learners before they start their course at the college and to help with their transition from school. They’ve had the opportunity to learn about the support and services available at Coleg y Cymoedd and in the wider community and their rights as Welsh-speaking learners. It’s also provided an opportunity to discuss ideas with them about things they would like to see offered at the college in the future, through the medium of Welsh.”

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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