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Meet the Staff

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Julie Shepard

Julie Shepard

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been teaching ESOL for 2 years

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Learning about different cultures and religions.  

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

Prior to teaching ESOL I worked for the local authority managing a small family programme aimed at developing parents and carers understanding of the importance of their children’s Speech, Language and Communication skills.

Tell us about your qualifications

Degree in Early Childhood Studies, P.G.C.E

Something interesting about you

I enjoy creative activities and learning new skills.

 

Natalie Horn

Natalie Horn

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd? 

I am an ESOL lecturer and have been working at the college since 2008.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

There isn’t one achievement for me as they happen in every session, when a learner completes a piece of work to their best ability, communicates with others or simply engages with the tasks. These small achievements prove that our learners can succeed in everything they do.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have worked in Education for 16 years, starting in the primary sector the starting at the college working for the support team. I have taught Essential Skills Wales, Welsh Baccalaureate and Customer Services before joining the ESOL team.

Tell us about your qualifications

PGCE in Adult Literacy

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Primary Education

Something interesting about you

I am married and have one daughter who keeps me busy. I love taking her to the park and exploring. We also enjoy art and craft however I have a strong dislike for glitter.

Catherine Sykes

Catherine Sykes

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been teaching ESOL since December 2019.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I have had the privilege of working with hard-working, dedicated students and enjoyed being part of such a friendly and knowledgeable team of lecturers.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have had a varied working life. In my younger years, I ran a chalet in the French Alps and worked for Her Majesty’s Court Service.  I moved to London in 2007 and worked for the Civil Service from 2008 until I began studying for my teaching qualification at Gloucester University in 2014.  I have been teaching in Primary schools for the past four years and, this year, began teaching ESOL in Further Education.

Tell us about your qualifications

I graduated from Swansea University in 2005 with a BSc hons Geography degree.

Something interesting about you

I enjoy outdoor adventures with my daughter.  We love nothing more than being at the beach body-boarding and searching the rock-pools for crabs!

Rachel Houghton

Rachel Houghton

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

ESOL. 
I have been teaching in college for twenty years.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?
Helping learners to improve their English in order to achieve their personal goals, whether these involve applying for a new job, making new friends, helping their children in school or continuing on to a vocational course or even higher education.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I began my teaching career 30 years ago.  I was a primary school teacher in Cardiff to begin with but after I had my children, I started teaching English and maths to adults who wanted to improve their skills.  I worked in the community and travelled to many different towns and villages in the area.  About fifteen years ago I started to teach ESOL classes. I love helping people to improve their English and settle into our area.

Tell us about your qualifications
B.Ed (Honours)
TEFL Certificate

Something interesting about you
 
I have lived in Wales for about 30 years now, but I’m originally from Yorkshire in the North of England.  My neighbour comes from the same town in Yorkshire and went to the same school as me!
I learned to play the piano as a child but now I am trying to learn the mandolin. I am not very good at playing musical instruments but it is something I enjoy doing.

Maria Blochowiak

Maria Blochowiak

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been teaching ESOL at Coleg y Cymoedd for 13 years.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

In my opinion my greatest achievement as a teacher is the improvement in English my students make. It gives me great satisfaction when I can see the progress students make and to see their increase in confidence.                          

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have been a teacher all my professional life in Poland and in the UK. 

In Poland I was a teacher of Polish language, literature and history for seven years from 1978 until 1985 when I moved to the UK, my new country. Here I started teaching in Special Educational Needs department at Ystrad Mynach College, then ESOL in the community.  I also teach Polish at Cardiff University since 2009. I teach students for GCSE and A-level Polish language exams in different secondary schools in RCT area.

Tell us about your qualifications

University in Gdansk (Poland) MA in Pedagogy and Polish Philology.

Glamorgan University: (now University of South Wales) BA in Communication Studies

Newport University: Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

Something interesting about you  

I am a native Polish speaker. When I came to the UK I could not speak any English, I could speak German and Russian but no English. So when my children went to the primary school I enrolled at Ystrad Mynach College to learn the language. My education progressed from here - GCSE, A level and then university. I wanted to continue in teaching so after my graduation I studied PGCE.

If I can do it, you can do it too!

Nancy Harris

Nancy Harris

What do you do in ESOL at Coleg y Cymoedd?

My current job title is ESOL Co-ordinator and I have been in this position for 3 years.  The work I do involves developing new ESOL classes and helping to match tutors to the demand for classes.  I travel between Aberdare, Nantgarw and Ystrad Mynach campuses, meeting and supporting both learners and staff.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Using my contacts in the community, I have helped to develop our ESOL programme to the thriving, busy department that it is today.  We have opportunities for learners of all levels from non-English speakers right through to Level 2 learners, daytime and evening classes – something for everyone!

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have worked for Coleg y Cymoedd for 20 years and over those years I have had several different roles.  I started at the college in 2000 as Admissions Officer, then developed this into an Admissions and Careers Co-ordinator role before moving outside of college to develop community based classes for adult learners.  My main focus now is ESOL.

Tell us about your qualifications

HNC Public Administration

NVQ Level 4 in Advice and Guidance

C&G 9282 Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills

Something interesting about you

I have an interest in music and like to sing in choirs.  My husband and I have travelled to many countries and lived in the Middle East (Muscat) for a while when my children were young.  I am fascinated by different cultures and ways of life and enjoy talking to people from different backgrounds and beliefs.  Wherever we travel, we like to learn a little of the language so I know how difficult learning a new language can sometimes be!

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