Cultural heritage and language diversity celebrated at Coleg y Cymoedd’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) end of year event

A celebration of achievements event was recently held at Coleg y Cymoedd to celebrate the incredible progress of over 100 ESOL learners during the past academic year. 

Excitement, delicious food, togetherness, and laughter marked the event where family, friends and college staff were invited to celebrate with the learners. 

Joining them was Senedd Member for Pontypridd, Mick Antoniw. Mr Antoniw, of Ukrainian descent, congratulated the learners on their success whilst using the Ukrainian language. The address received a huge applause from event attendees. 

Julie Richards, Head of Skills (and ESOL) at Coleg y Cymoedd, said “The ESOL learners have all done remarkably well this year. They have shown incredible dedication, resilience and commitment through their studies. We wanted to recognise their achievements and this celebration event certainly did that.” 

In the academic year 2022/2023 alone, over 20 languages were represented by Coleg y Cymoedd’s ESOL learners, including Ukrainian, Arabic, Polish, Turkish.

Coleg y Cymoedd offers ESOL courses on a full-time and part-time basis across all four of its campuses. Levels include ‘Pre-entry’, ‘Entry 1’, ‘Entry 2’, ‘Entry 3’ and ‘Level 1’ and ‘Level 2’ for those looking to enhance their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills for English as an additional language. 

For more information, or to register your interest to commence ESOL studies this September, visit:

Coleg y Cymoedd Showcases Industry-Leading Facilities to Secondary School Pupils

Coleg y Cymoedd, one of Wales’ largest further education institutions, recently hosted a transition day for secondary school pupils across their four campuses.

With nearly 800 students participating in a range of taster sessions, the event aimed to showcase the college’s industry-leading facilities and provide valuable insight into potential career paths.

Taster sessions in subjects such as Childcare, Catering, Construction and A Levels included exciting activities designed to engage and inspire young minds.

Students who opted to visit the college’s Engineering department enjoyed hands-on cyber security challenges and an exhilarating flight wind tunnel experience.

In Fashion and Costume Design, students got creative by designing their own tote bags under expert guidance from professionals, whilst Crime Scene Investigation enthusiasts were introduced to forensic techniques through an interactive session.

Aspiring hairdressers and beauticians were able to practice their skills by delivering blow dries in the fully-equipped on-campus salons. Additionally enticing was professional gaming; eager gamers took part in world competitive games involving FIFA and virtual reality racing simulations.

While students immersed themselves in the exploration of potential career fields at Coleg y Cymoedd’s campuses across Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff; secondary school staff met with ULP (Universal Learning Pathways), Wellbeing services, and Welsh Language staff to better understand provisions available for students. The knowledge will help them in guiding their students towards success during their future studies at FE level.

Janet Edwards, Recruitment and Progression Manager at Coleg y Cymoedd remarked on the importance of events like this: “Exposing young minds to such diverse vocational prospects opens doors they may not have known even existed.”

She continued, “It allows them space for consideration before feeling pressured into making life-changing decisions.”

The transition day laid a strong foundation for students in years 9 and 10 by encouraging them to consider their options early on, providing ample time for thoughtful decision-making regarding their educational pathways.

The transition day served as a precursor to an open evening, where prospective students and parents could learn more about the college’s extensive range of 450+ courses and leading vocational provisions. There was also a ‘quiet hour’ that visitors could select during registration to cater specifically to those with anxiety or sensory sensitivities.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s commitment lies in ensuring every student’s success. The college aims to provide students with exceptional learning experiences and industry-standard facilities that reflect real-world work environments.

The pathways created during their time at the institution lead students towards excellent opportunities in universities, apprenticeships, and work placements. Ultimately, Coleg y Cymoedd strives to equip its students with skills necessary for life after college, whatever that may look like.

Coleg y Cymoedd are currently taking applications for studies commencing this September. Browse their full list of courses and student support services on their website.

Coleg y Cymoedd’s link with Pullman Rail changed adult learner Miroslaw’s life for the better

Miroslaw Kowalczuk, aged 44, from Poland, is experiencing new opportunities and improving finances since applying for a Pullman Rail apprenticeship at Coleg y Cymoedd.

Hailing from a small village next to the Ukrainian border, Miroslaw was not afforded a traditional education, and a well-paid job seemed out of reach.

Having moved to Great Britain to seek better circumstances, he felt the course of his life change when he heard about the Pullman Rail Adult Learning and Upskilling Development Programme.

Wanting to increase his skillset, but with concerns that his English language was limited, Miroslaw took a chance and applied for the apprenticeship. He successfully passed the entrance exam and secured a place on the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Traction & Rolling Stock.

As Pullman Rail’s delivery partner for nine years, Miroslaw began his studies at Coleg y Cymoedd. His experience was extremely positive, with the college providing a great environment with modern workshops and laboratories, as well as an approachable intermediary in NVQ assessor, Stephen Manning.

“I was anxious about my English-language skills, but Stephen put my mind at ease and explained everything. He motivated me to work hard and gave me confidence in myself and my abilities”, said Miroslaw.

Recommending the course to others with personal or career goals, he continued: “The course has opened up new possibilities for me in terms of self-development and further education. It’s also proven to be a big financial support because my qualification means I now earn more money, which is really motivating.”

“I now know that it is possible to conquer all adversities. My time at Coleg y Cymoedd has taught me that you should always believe in yourself.”

NVQ assessor, Stephen Manning, is proud of all Miroslaw has overcome: “Miroslaw has shown such determination and has completed the qualification to a very high standard. His commitment and willingness to learn new skills is a testament to an outstanding work ethic and positive attitude.”

“Apprenticeships are the preferred method of recruitment in today’s economy, as it enables companies to address skills gaps in their organisation and to mould their future workforce with their company ethics and beliefs.”

In the college’s partnership with Pullman Rail, adult learners have 24/7 support from their NVQ Assessor throughout the two-year programme.

Pullman Rail is one of 1,200 employers to work in partnership with Coleg y Cymoedd. With over 27 subject routes on offer, the college has one of the most diverse apprenticeship provisions in the UK. Coleg y Cymoedd are currently accepting applications for September 2023’s intake, here:

Coleg y Cymoedd awarded for their support towards the armed forces community

Coleg y Cymoedd has successfully secured a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, the highest badge of honour to recognise the positive role that an employer can plan in supporting the Armed Forces community.

Named as one of just 193 organisations in the UK, Coleg y Cymoedd are proud to be among the few including Marks & Spencer Plc, Toyota and Hilton, who have received this year’s distinction. More than this, the college is one of only 10 winners from across Wales joining a very select group of Gold ERS holders.

As the third largest employer in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff, Coleg y Cymoedd has proactively demonstrated their forces-friendly credentials as part of their recruiting and selection process. They welcome job applications from Veterans, Reservists, and those with military-serving relatives.

Having progressed from the ERS Silver Award, Coleg y Cymoedd have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and have proven to be an exemplar within the education sector; advocating support to defence people issues to partner organisations with tangible positive results.

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said:I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.”

Employer Engagement Officer for Coleg y Cymoedd and former RAF member, Paul Rees said: “At Coleg y Cymoedd we’ve developed an Armed Forces Network where we can not only support each other, but help recruit other service personnel. Our purpose is to shine a light on the college being such a rewarding and accessible environment.

In my time here, I have used transferable skills from my RAF experiences to benefit both students and staff. Coleg y Cymoedd has given me the support and confidence to pursue other sides of my job role and have resulted in me becoming an Armed Forces Champion, to encourage other members of the Military Family to share their experiences. Both myself and the college has benefited from me being a member of the Armed Forces.”

Director of People and Culture at Coleg y Cymoedd, Julie Rees said: “We are delighted that our support of the armed forces has been recognised with a Gold Award.

We hope to see the college Armed Forces Network grow and to increase our provisions for armed forces veterans and Reservists as part of our DERS award in the future.”

Discover workplace benefits through our current job vacancies:


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