Coleg y Cymoedd learners travel overseas to get a fresh take on studies and enhance personal development

Over 80 Coleg y Cymoedd students from courses including Childcare, Catering, and Hairdressing will get to experience a new way of learning by teaming up with education and business institutions across Europe this year.

The opportunity comes courtesy of Erasmus+, the EU’s exchange programme to support education, training, youth and sport development amongst European students.

Coleg y Cymoedd learners have been invited to locations across Italy, Spain and Portugal to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding by participating in foreign work placements in partnerships with receiving educational organisations, whilst experiencing the culture and language of a different country. The work placements were decided according to their relevance to the student’s curriculum and personal development needs.

In February 2023, Business teacher, Samantha James chaperoned a trip to Italy with her Level 3 learners. Some of her students shared their highlights: “I was able to gain excellent knowledge of how businesses run in another country and learnt new skills, being able to put what we’ve learnt into practice,” said Elle Thomas.

Dylan Thomas also spoke about the opportunities available through overseas study: “The experience was brilliant, something that very few people will have chance to take part in. I was able to enter a totally business new industry that I had not thought of before. It surprised me how important the business side of things is to running an archaeological site”.

Speaking of a recent trip to Benfica FC Training Centre, Lisbon, with Cymoedd’s Girls’ Football Academy, Coach Kathryn Morgan said: “It was one that learners will remember with a smile on their face. The precision of coaching, the cultural experience and the warm welcome we received made it a very successful trip.

The learners experienced how it would be to train and live as a professional footballer and the hard work and dedication that is required. And, being in Portugal, the sun shining every day no doubt improved peoples’ wellbeing. Many didn’t want to return home!”

Events & International Coordinator for Coleg y Cymoedd, Natalie Goodger, commented on the benefits of Cymoedd being an Erasmus+ institution: “Erasmus+ has been an extremely beneficial funding stream for the college over the years, not only providing once in a lifetime work-placement opportunities to learners but also by providing CPD for staff members and allowing our college to collaborate with other European institution, this in turn supports innovation, passion for learner and broadens future aspirations.”

International mobility programmes are recommended to enhance the communication, language, inter-cultural skills of students, and the soft-skills that are highly valued by future employers.

To find out more about opportunities for learners at Coleg y Cymoedd, visit: www.cymoedd.ac.uk

Coleg y Cymoedd catering school wins national award for second year running

The 6th Food Awards Wales 2023 has announced its winners, celebrating the best of the country’s food industry.

The awards ceremony, held on Monday 26th June at The Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, recognised and rewarded the talent and hard work of the Welsh food industry, highlighting the best restaurants, takeaways, pubs, cafes, and producers.

The winners were selected based on the votes of the public, who nominated their favourite establishments across various categories, including Restaurant of the Year, Gastro Pub of the Year, Chef of the Year and Best Street Food amongst others.

The Awards aimed to recognise excellence across various categories, showcase the best food establishment that Wales has to offer and promote the country’s industry, celebrating its diversity and quality.

Scholar’s Restaurant at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus was one of the finalists in the Cookery School of the Year category. The competition was fierce but they received the recognition and took the trophy home.

Head of Hair, Beauty, Hospitality and Catering at Coleg y Cymoedd, Hayley Hunt spoke of the win: “It is incredibly rare to pick up the Best Cookery School in Wales Award two years in a row, so we’re delighted with the success. It is a testament to the hard work of our students and dedicated staff, all of whom held leading positions in the industry in their own right.”

Known for the incredible success of its learners who have placed first and third in the Young Pastry Chef of the Year Awards in the last two years, as well as having reached the finals of Young Restaurant Team of the Year competition at the Gordon Ramsay Academy, Catering courses at Coleg y Cymoedd attract the best aspiring young chefs in Wales.

Their impressive list of alumni features, Michael Coggan and Andrew Minto, who went onto win Channel 4’s Bake Off – The Professionals, and their four training restaurants across Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly hold perfect five-star reviews on Tripadvisor.

The win tops a fantastic year for Catering at the college’s Ystrad Mynach campus, as they celebrate their fifty-year anniversary in 2023. Lecturer in Professional Cookery, Stuart Davies, commented: “As soon as the students walk through our doors we’re preparing them for a career in the industry.

In the last year alone, over £2 million has been spent improving Scholar’s restaurant and Ystrad Mynach catering facilities, to ensure the next generation of Hospitality and Catering learners experience the best and follow in the footsteps of former learners who have gone to secure jobs at the UK’s top bars and restaurants, some of whom have set up successful catering businesses of their own.”

A Spokesperson for The Food Awards Wales 2023 said: “We received an overwhelming response from the public, who nominated some fantastic establishments across the region.

“These awards are a testament to the passion and dedication of the country’s food industry, and the hard work of those who provide exceptional culinary experiences to their customers. The winners should be proud of their achievement, as they represent the very best of the Welsh food scene, and are a true reflection of the quality and diversity of the industry.

“Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists, who have demonstrated excellence in their respective categories.”

To register your interest to study Professional Cookery at Wales’ best Cookery School, visit: www.cymoedd.ac.uk

Celebrating Coleg y Cymoedd’s annual Learner Awards with ‘Welsh Wonder Woman’, Lowri Morgan

Coleg y Cymoedd recently held its annual Learner Awards ceremony at its Nantgarw campus. The night was a celebration of the college’s inspirational learners and their exceptional efforts and achievements this academic year.

Principal, Jonathan Morgan, welcomed the guests and congratulated the nominees on being named amongst 10,000 learners. He spoke about the significance of the nominations having come from the tutors and staff who work most closely with the learners on a daily basis. He paid special tribute to those staff members, and the family and friends who supported the learners along the way, and to the generous sponsors who helped make the night possible.

The college was delighted to welcome back one of its alumni, Amy Williams. Amy, a former Performing Arts learner at the college’s Rhondda campus, is soon to graduate from Italia Conti, London, and has just been successfully signed to a prestigious talent agency. Amy ably compered the event – firstly introducing guest speaker, Welsh television presenter, adventurer and ultra-marathon runner, Lowri Morgan.

Lowri delivered a heart-felt and personal address which reflected on her own insecurities as a teenager, the life lessons she has learned and the wisdom she has gained since. Guests were visibly moved by her call to only make comparisons to oneself, and to understand that it’s actually ‘the ordinary people that do the most extraordinary things’. Her closing message was not to ‘fear failure, but to fear low aim.’

Amy introduced the winners with over 50 learners from across all faculties receiving their certificate and prize from guest speaker Lowri Morgan and the award’s sponsor. Categories included ‘Contribution to College Life’ and ‘Welsh Language’.

There was a break in the presentation of awards for the evening’s entertainment – a performance from Rhondda Campus’ Performing Arts learners featuring an ensemble from their end of year show musical, ‘SIX!’

The final awards, ‘Outstanding Achievement’ and ‘Overcoming Barriers’ were selected by the principal from the 50+ award winners.

The Overcoming Barriers Award is presented to the learner who has overcome barriers during their course, yet still achieved their qualification. This award was presented to Painting and Decorating learner Tyler Davis, studying at the Ystrad Mynach campus.

Luc Jones was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his achievements whilst studying at the college. Luc received full UMS marks in his AS Levels and has accepted an offer to read Computer Science at Cambridge University.

Bringing the evening to a close, the principal thanked everyone for attending the event and congratulated the learners on their achievements. He wished them every success for the future.

He also thanked Catering company Chartwells, along with the learner ambassadors and support staff who had worked to host a very enjoyable evening.

Congratulations to all Learner Award 2023 winners

A Level Award – BTEC Science Award                       Jacob Trick

A Level Award – AS Award                                        Seth Olner

A Level Award – A2 Award                                        Luc Jones

A Level Award – A2 Award                                        Lilia Simonov

A Level Award – A2 Award                                        Jakob Chukoury

Entrepreneurship Award                                           Finn Johnson-Denny

Childhood Studies Award                                         Summer Lavis

Childhood Studies Award                                         Jasmine Lucas

Health and Social Care Award                                  Talia John

Health and Social Care Award                                  Tiffany Bowditch

Health and Social Care Award                                  Skye-Leah Jones

Hospitality and Catering Award                               Mali Leese

Hospitality and Catering Award                               Abigail Williams

Hospitality and Catering Award                               Bethany Carter

Hairdressing and Beauty Award                               Sophie O’Connell

Hairdressing and Beauty Award                               Kristie Taylor

Hairdressing and Beauty Award (Barbering)         Jacob Richards

Creative Industries Award                                        Carla Jackles

Creative Industries Award                                        Simone Bevan

Creative Industries Award                                        Amber Verona

Creative Industries Award                                        Rayya Bocus

Foundation Learning Award                                     Aiden John

Foundation Learning Award                                     Efân Powell

Foundation Learning Award                                     Halen Cusack

Foundation Learning Award                                     Amy Young

Independent Living Skills Award                              Jack Pensom

Independent Living Skills Award                              Jesse Cousins

Independent Living Skills Award                              Jennifer Davies

Independent Living Skills Award                              Yasmin Thomas

Uniformed Protective Services Award                     Rhys  Herbert

Sport Award                                                             Jade Bevan

Sport Award                                                             Lili Griffiths

Construction Award                                                  Tyler Davis

Construction Award                                                  Ruben Duggan

Construction Award                                                  Conor Milton

Construction Award                                                  Thomas Meredith

Computing and IT Award                                         Jasper Hynes

Computing and IT Award                                         Victoria Mullins

Computing and IT Award                                         Omorinola Akintioye

Computing and IT Award                                         Luke Stone

Computing and IT Award                                         Samuel Deabreu

Engineering Award                                                   Dewi Middleton

Engineering Award                                                   Patrick Laffan

Engineering Award                                                   Talia Eddy

Engineering Award                                                   Ronan Pellow

Engineering Award                                                   Nicholas Singler

Apprenticeships Awards                                           Megan Christie

Skills Award                                                               Callum Davies

Skills Award                                                               Ashley Helyar

Skills Award                                                               Craig Mallen

Welsh Award                                                             Troy Daniel

Young Carers Award                                                 Ethan Tucker

Higher Education Award                                           Kian Stephens

Contribution to College Life Award Rhondda Campus       Thomas Coombs

Contribution to College Life Award Aberdare Campus      Ryan Allen

Contribution to College Life Award Nantgarw Campus     Rosie Adams

Contribution to College Life Award Ystrad Mynach Campus     Jessica Froom

Overcoming Barriers Award Tyler Davies

Outstanding Achievement Award Luc Jones

Coleg y Cymoedd unveils multi-million-pound refurbishment of Ystrad campus

Coleg y Cymoedd has unveiled its new Ystrad Mynach campus at an official launch event following a multi-million-pound revamp.

The South Wales college has invested more than £9m into the campus over the last year, including renovations to over 20 classrooms, a new restaurant, the development of VR and robotic provisions, a painting and decorating workshop, as well as the creation of a dedicated sports facility.

Attended by local employers, industry partners and school representatives, the event saw invitees tour the recently refurbished classrooms and new facilities before enjoying a three-course seated meal at the campus’ new and improved ‘Scholars’ restaurant, whose acclaimed team has been shortlisted for the finals of this year’s Wales Food Awards.

Over £2 million has been spent on improving the restaurant and catering facilities at Ystrad, including the complete refurbishment of its Scholars Restaurant and kitchen ensuring the next generation of Hospitality and Catering learners are trained in a superb environment. The launch comes as the campus celebrates 50 years of catering provisions at the site, with former learner, Michael Coggan, who went on to win Channel 4’s Bake Off The Professionals, also attending the event to show support for the college that kickstarted his career.

The brand new £2.5 million sports facility, which replaces a previous facility, will support the training of approximately 100 sport learners each year, including those currently involved in the college’s Rugby League and Female Football academies.

Workshops for electronics, computing and painting and decorating, as well as an array of classrooms have been completely renovated to a value of almost £2 million. The college has also introduced workshops and equipment to support skills in emerging technologies like robotics and virtual reality, which Coleg y Cymoedd has seen increasing demand for from employers.

As well as celebrating the investments made to the campus, the event showcased the strength of the college’s facilities and courses to key partners, like local businesses and apprenticeship providers, to help forge new employment pathways for learners as well as support existing partnerships.

Jonathan Morgan, Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd: “We’re really excited to be showing our partners all the things we have been working on at Ystrad over the last two years to improve our facilities and ensure learners leave college having had the best learning experience possible.

“Our renovations will mean our graduates finish their qualifications equipped with the skills they need to jump right into their chosen careers, whether they’ve looking to go to university, enter an apprenticeship or pursue professional sporting routes. Having top facilities also helps us to work with local partners and map out direct career and work experience opportunities.”

Coleg y Cymoedd welcomes star studded line-up of film professionals to support the next generation of creative talent 

A South Wales college is set to welcome a cohort of famous film industry professionals to run exclusive workshops and masterclasses for aspiring young screen sector creatives this July.  

Off the back of the successful His Dark Materials exhibition that ran in March, seeing over 1,000 visitors, Coleg y Cymoedd’s brand new Make! programme will open to the public this summer to highlight career opportunities and emerging technologies in film, such as creature effects, digital technologies and costume construction through a range of practical workshops, lectures, and industry engagement from leading professionals. 

The sessions will be run by renowned industry professionals including famous puppeteer William Todd-Jones (Harry Potter, Batman, His Dark Materials), illustrator and puppeteer couple Brian and Wendy Froud (Star Wars, The Muppets, Dark Crystal), and Eliot Gibbins (His Dark Materials), and costume designer Rosi Flood (Pirates of the Caribbean, Apostle) who will be on hand to share their expertise and provide an exclusive insight into film’s creative sector.   

Seven workshops and a masterclass with Brian Froud will take place from the 3rd to the 8th of July at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus, providing those with an interest in the film sector with the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry, while also getting a feel for what working within it could be like. 

Open to the public aged 16 and above, apart from creature effects (14+), the workshops will focus on the screen sector as a whole, providing valuable insight for new talent and current industry members to upskill and learn more sustainable and creative techniques.  

The series of free bookable workshops and masterclasses will enable individuals to take part in one or two-day practical sessions, demonstrations, and lectures in a variety of screen sector areas, from creature effects and costume construction to 3D printing, moulding, and casting.  

Alistair Aston, course leader and creative industries co-ordinator at Coleg y Cymoedd, has been working closely with industry partners to bring the Make! programme to fruition and promote access to creative careers in the film sector.  

He said: “We are passionate about developing a Centre of Excellence for film at TV at Coleg y Cymoedd, specifically within the fields of robotics, prop making and visual effects.  Our goal is to create an innovative industry leading resource made up of active studios and professional skills training facilities. 

“After the huge success of our His Dark Materials exhibition and masterclasses, we’ve seen so much genuine interest from young people in the local communities here in South Wales that we want to continue providing them with opportunities and access to creative careers within film. Wales has a thriving film industry, and our missions is to showcase and build upon that with projects like the Make! programme.”  

Eliot Gibons, His Dark Materials creature effects workshop manager added: “We are excited to be involved with Coleg y Cymoedd and the host of wonderful makers involved in this project. This is a must for anyone who is interested in the world of making things with traditional and cutting-edge technologies. 

 Coleg y Cymoedd continue to deliver a high standard of learning for hard to access areas like this, which I’m confident can only result in further benefiting the successful screen sector here in Wales.”  

Wales’ film industry has continued to grow year-on-year, with blockbuster productions like Sex Education, Willow, Havoc and His Dark Materials 3 all being filmed in the country in the last couple of years. However, while the sector has generated over £155 million for the Welsh economy since 2020 (1), it continues to see skills shortages. 

South Wales Valleys born William Todd-Jones, puppeteer and Make! workshop leader, said: “For the Welsh entertainment industry to build on recent successes, it will need hundreds of able individuals who can take up the hammer, screwdriver, blow-dryer, camera, microphone, mouse, or whatever tool their department uses to help the production tell its story. ‘Make!’ will give an insight into some of the specialist day-to-day workings – the other side of camera.” 

Alistair added: “Our film sector needs more industry-ready workers, and this is something that HE and FE providers like Coleg y Cymoedd can support and help tackle by delivering courses and pathway opportunities, with the help of industry professionals, for young people in Wales.”  

Coleg y Cymoedd plans to use the Make! Programme and the insight it gains from industry partners to help it develop new courses, programmes and apprenticeships, to support more learners into film careers. 

Coleg y Cymoedd’s Make! Programme will take place at its Nantgarw campus, opening times: 

Monday 3rd July – 10am – 4pm 

Tuesday 4th July – 10am – 4pm 

Wednesday 5th July – 10am – 4pm, 7pm – 9pm  

Thursday 6th July – 10am – 4pm 

Friday 7th July – 10am – 4pm 

Saturday 8th July – 10am – 1pm  

For further information on specific workshop and masterclass times, and to book your free slot for an exhibition, workshop, or masterclass, visit: www.cymoedd.ac.uk/make 

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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