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Claire Hughes Davies

Claire Hughes Davies

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have taught within the Vocational Access Department for 8 years and also 2 years in the Basic Skills Department. I teach Entry Level learners and I absolutely love it!  I am also the Campus Coordinator at the Nantgarw campus, so I’m lucky enough to work alongside all the learners and staff within our department.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

No achievement is too small.  These regular achievements add up to one big one.  I have a buzz every time one of my learners remembers something we have done in a previous session and when I can see that they are really enjoying a learning activity.  I also enjoy problem solving with my colleagues and I celebrate every positive solution!  But my greatest personal achievement is teaching a few groups a song or dance together.  It is amazing to be a part of a song or dance and see so many smiling faces and hear people having fun.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have taught for 25 years in both the Primary and Further Education sector. Before I worked at Coleg y Cymoedd, I was a primary school teacher for 13 years in Cardiff and Caerphilly.  I made the change because I loved working alongside learners with additional learning needs.  I am also a qualified Youth Worker.

Tell us about your qualifications

I enjoy learning new skills, these are my achievements so far:

  • Master of Education in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Special Educational Needs
  • Associate Member of the Dyslexia Association (Spld assessor)
  • Ed Primary Education (Hons)
  • Grade 6 Guitar and Grade 1 Piano

Something interesting about you

I am married with 2 children, so life is generally busy.  However, when I can, I enjoy chilling with my family.  We are all learning to sail, but I’m better below deck making the tea! I am really good at Pacman (showing my age) and I love reading about Tudor times, especially Henry VIII. I am still learning to play the piano and one day hope to play without being nervous!

Donna Jones

Donna Jones

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been working at the college for 13 years. I have taught in 3 different departments.  Care, Computing and currently in Vocational Access. I am the course tutor for 2 different courses; E3 Construction Skills and E3 Care and Service Industries.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

My greatest achievement would be the success I have with my learners.  I work with challenging behaviour everyday and to gain a relationship with my learners is a challenge on its own.  To make these learners feel inspired and valued is my biggest goal.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have worked in the education sector all of my working career, working as a Nursery Nurse many years ago and then starting as an LSA/CSW in the college whilst working part time as a tutor.  I am now a full time tutor.

Something interesting about you

I can speak 2 languages, English and British Sign Language.  I have trained to Level 6 BSL Translator.

Dorian Adkins

Dorian Adkins

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I teach Phase 3 Construction Skills in the Vocational Access Department. I have been employed at the college for 11 years and have been teaching for the last 5 years.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Seeing my learners achieving Gold and Silver medals at the Welsh Regional Skills Competition and a Bronze Medal at the UK Finals in 2019.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have worked in construction since leaving school in 2001. Firstly, in the stores of a builder’s merchants, then working as a site labourer before starting my Plumbing apprenticeship at Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw Campus. I then served a number of years in industry before returning to the college as a part time Technician for the Plumbing Department in 2009. I qualified as a lecturer in 2015 and have been teaching since.

Tell us about your qualifications

City & Guilds Level 2 & 3 NVQ Diploma in Plumbing

City & Guilds Level 3 Assessors Awards

City & Guilds Level 4 Internal Quality Assurance Awards

PCET Post 16 Education

ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership & Management

Something interesting about you

My other passion is music, and before joining the college full time I was the drummer in a touring rock band.

Donna Price

Donna Price

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been working at the college for nearly 28 years.  I have been a member of both the support and teaching staff during that time, namely 21 years administrative support and the last 7 in a teaching capacity. However I have taught previously in a part time role many years ago.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I cannot think of one in particular but each year it is an achievement when learners achieve themselves not only in academic qualifications but gaining skills and self development and this is an achievement to know I have contributed with others to this process.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

Where do I Start! My role within the college commenced on the 7th September 1992 as a Support Assistant within what was known then as the Flexible Learning Centre.  I provided support for students within a learning environment.  The post gradually expanded to become the newly formed Learner Services department. My role also progressed to develop the college central admissions system and later to work on many “student centred roles” to become the Manager of the Aberdare Campus Student Services Department.  Over the years, I was also involved with many student centred projects such as student retention strategies and supporting the current Principal with organisational processes regarding the merger of Coleg y Cymoedd and the Ystrad Mynach College.   As a result of the merger, an opportunity arose to change my career path and secure a full time teaching position within the Business and Professional Studies Department of the college.  Over the last seven years, I have delivered various courses which has exemplified my adaptability and ability to diversify and retrain.  The course remit ranges from Business Administration & Business Studies, Information Technology, Travel and Tourism, Welsh Baccalaureate, Essential Skills Wales Communication Skills, Creative Art and Media and more recently Vocational Access courses.

Tell us about your qualifications

I have a range of qualifications including a First Class Honours Degree in International Business, HNC and Foundation Degree`s in Business and Management, a Level 5 Institute of Supervisory Management Diploma and a PGCE Teaching Qualification

Something interesting about you

I love spending time with my family, taking part in sport activities and enjoy travelling, particularly within Europe; immersing myself into the culture of the area we are visiting at that time. As a result, I have been learning to speak Italian for the last three years. I am constantly looking to challenge myself with leisure activities and my latest sporting challenge is developing my front crawl swimming ability with the assistance of my colleague “Chris Summerill” in the Creative Department as my “Coach”.

Rachel Wallen

Rachel Wallen

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

My teaching career began in 2001, as a part time tutor of students with additional learning needs at Treforest Learning Curve Centre.  Within the Vocational Access department, I provide tuition on a number of subjects, including Literacy, Numeracy, Careers related skills, IT, Tourism and Public Services, as well as teach ICT to part-time students on the visually impaired computer course.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I was awarded Distinguished Employee 2018 at Coleg y Cymoedd for my work with learners with a sensory loss across college.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I became a volunteer within Vocational Access, following university and completion of employment as a playworker of children with additional learning needs, during a summer playscheme.  A full time LSA role was offered to me whilst doing voluntary work at the college.  During this period, I worked across a number of courses within the discrete provision, as well as in mainstream classes.  My main interest initially was gaining experience with learners with a sensory loss.  I was encouraged to enrol on a PGCE course, which I finished in 2003.  Following this, I continued teaching part-time learners from Treforest Learning Curve, as well as doing sickness cover at the college.  A 75% post for teaching learners with a sensory loss became available in 2007 and I successfully gained this position.  Secondment to Merthyr LEA for a few hours per week, for a student with severe learning difficulties and a visual impairment was undertaken in 2009.  Over my career, I have been course tutor of a number of courses and taught from Entry 1 up to Level 3.  Currently, I am the Vocational Pathways course tutor and also of the part-time visually impaired computer class, as well as Learning Curve Co-ordinator for RCT part time groups.  Experience has been gained in using specialist software, making use of accessibility settings, creating tactile diagrams, brailling of materials and modification of documents to produce accessible materials, in addition to using various apps on I Pads and tablets.

Tell us about your qualifications

PGCE in Post Compulsory Education

RNIB Standard Certificate in English Braille

Unified English Braille

BTEC Advanced Certificate in Inclusive Learning Practices.

City & Guilds Initial Certificate in Teaching Basic Skills (Literacy)

BA Hons Humanities

3 A Levels

10 GCSEs

Something interesting about you

I really enjoyed art at school and particularly liked doing still life drawings, as well as calligraphy.

Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been working in the college for 18 years.  I have taught basic skills to adults and now work in Vocational Access.  This has involved teaching on Foundation Learning, The Learning Curve and ILS courses.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us? I have been a facilitator for STEPS.  This is a course to help improve confidence, self-esteem and set goals.

Tell us about your career and experience in industry

In my gap year I did voluntary work for Age Concern and The Stroke Association.

Tell us about your qualifications

I have a BA (Hons) at Cardiff University and teaching qualifications.

Something interesting about you

In my spare time I play the flute.

Rebecca Turner

Rebecca Turner

What do you teach @ Coleg y Cymoedd.

I teach Entry Level 3 Catering and ILS Pathways 2 on the Rhondda Campus. It is my first year as course tutor but have been working within the department over the previous year covering staff on a different range of courses.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Being offered a contracted tutor position after covering staff for a year. Watching the students progress on to higher level qualifications and achieving their goals.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry.

From the age of 16 I have always worked within the food industry. I’ve worked in the fast food giants as KFC and Subway and also worked in a factory kitchen as a dinner lady!
During my time at university I worked with the golden arches; McDonalds, I developed my customer service skills within the industry and I was promoted four times within a year from crew member up to shift manager. It is here where my experience within the catering and hospitality field really shines.  
I graduated with a BA (hons) in Drama and Theatre studies, here is where I found my passion for teaching, I loved how drama could help develop your confidence, self-belief and resilience all very important living skills. After graduating I worked for a company which promotes life skills within learners primary and secondary schools. This has helped within my position of teaching independent living skills to our learners at Coleg y Cymoedd.

Tells us about your qualifications

PGCE in Higher Education

Level 3 Diploma in Shift Management

Level 3 Award in Supervising Food Safety in Catering

BA (hons) Drama and Theatre Studies

Tell us something interesting about yourself

I’m a massive Disney fan and I’ve been to three of the parks (Paris, Florida and California) I am to visit all of them within my life time.

Ross Thomas

Ross Thomas

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I am currently in my 6th full year of teaching at the college.  I teach within the Vocational Access Department where I have been a course tutor to the Skills for Independence & Work Entry 2, Sport & Public Services Entry 3 and Health & Social Care Entry 3 courses. 

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Being asked to take over as course tutor while still completing my PGCE course. 

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

Following the completion of my Sport & Exercise Science degree at the University of South Wales I began working at local school, Ysgol Ty Coch, running after school sports clubs.  I then moved to the college to become a Learning Support Assistant within Vocational Access.  Whilst in this role I also completed my PGCE course and became course tutor for the Sport & Public Service Entry 3 course at Ystrad Mynach campus.  Over the years I have worked on all four campuses and have most recently been course tutor to the Health & Social Care Entry 3 and Skills for Independence & Work Entry 2 courses at the Rhondda campus. 

Tell us about your qualifications

PGCE Post 16 Education, BSc. Hons Sport & Exercise Science.  

Something interesting about you

I play and coach American Flag Football for the Tydfil Trojans who compete in the British American Football Flag League.  I have also represented the South West Conference regional team in a national tournament. 

Sally Begley

Sally Begley

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I started teaching as a temporary lecturer about 7 years ago, I taught ICT to Level 2&3. Since then I have had a variety of roles in the college. Currently, I am on my 4th year teaching in the Vocational Access department, I teach across Entry level 1, 2 & 3 and I am course tutor for the new Supported Gateway to Employment course. I also teach on the Duke of Edinburgh provision.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I have been a part of a new Welsh Government pilot scheme to plan and run the new Supported Internship course.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have worked in a variety of jobs before the college, this has given me a good grounding to know the standard that learners need to achieve before leaving us to start on their own adventures.

Tell us about your qualifications

The main qualifications I have that are relevant to my career are:

  • Qualifications in SEN/ALN
  • Several qualifications in ICT
  • Qualifications in DofE
  • A teaching qualification
  • A degree in Education

Something interesting about you

I have 4 fish named Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Moe.

Samantha Thomas

Samantha Thomas

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I first began teaching in Ystrad Mynach in 2008 in the Vocational Access department. When the colleges merged I taught in Rhondda campus followed by Nantgarw and Aberdare. I teach in Vocational Access with construction and hairdressing mainly. I have also taught the Learning Curve for many years.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?
Watching all the learners progress onto a higher course

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry
Since graduating I have always taught in Vocational Access. Having worked as a support worker this helped with my role in Vocational Access

Tell us about your qualifications
BA Primary Education with QTS

Something interesting about you
I have two children. I name my pets after chocolate bars

 

Sue Williams

Sue Williams

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?
Over the years I have delivered a range subjects at Entry 1 2 3 (Work skills, hairdressing, Cooking, travel skills, health and hygiene, healthy living, ITC, Social skills, PSE, gardening, health and fitness.)
I have been teaching at the College for Thirty four years.
I am currently Campus Co-ordinator for the School of Vocational Access.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?
One of my achievements is: - I started the hairdressing provision in the College in 1986.
Welsh government visited the College after me talking to them about the ILS provision.

Developing new IQA systems for all four Campuses.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry
I started working at the age of 14 doing a Saturday job and then continued to work as a professional hairdresser (full time). I became a teacher at the age of nineteen, and qualified as such in 1998.

Tell us about your qualifications
I have a range of Qualifications in hairdressing, teaching and learning and have completed a number of CPD training sessions over the years to improve my job role and learner’s experiences.

Something interesting about you:
I am a diligent hard working individual, I can communicate with people from all walks of life.

I am extremely organised in all things I do – which other people I work with aspire to.

I am very passionate about my job and will always welcome new challenges.

I am keen to improve the lives of our learners within the School.

I am very proud that a learner started at the College with me on an Entry level 2 course in hairdressing and progressed onto a teaching career.

Helen White

Helen White

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

Hair and Beauty Entry Level 3, I have been teaching for 17 years part time.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I have achieved Assessors and Verifiers awards, also progressed onto Up2 and encouraged competition work for our department.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have been in the hairdressing industry for 34 years. I have worked in several hairs salons and was also self employed for 10 years.  I still work part time self employed.

Tell us about your qualifications

I have qualifications in Art, IT, Hair and Beauty and also Literacy.

Something interesting about you

I am a dog lover and I’m totally committed to my family. I love teaching hairdressing and I’m aware of the need for lower level education and am willing to provide the best possible training for under achieving learners.

Jay Humphris

Jay Humphris

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I teach E3 catering and Hospitality for the Vocational Access department Ystrad Mynach campus. It is my first year as course tutor but have been working on the department as cover staff for the past two years while qualifying for my PGCE.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

In February I was asked to join the National Welsh Culinary team to compete in the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart Germany. My job role was to create an edible centre piece for the chefs table. I also joined the team during kitchen service, helping with prepping of food and keeping the kitchen clean. The welsh teams left the competition with two Bronze and One Silver awards for their efforts.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I have been in the hospitality industry as a bar manager for the past 17 years, helping with the running of a bar and restaurant, as well as a busy night club on weekends.

10 years ago, was my sons first birthday where I decided to make him a cake. It was the lumpiest bumpiest cake but I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to find a course that could teach me how to do it properly. Fast forward 10 years later I have entered many international sugar craft competitions, successfully gaining 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze awards for my entries. I also have my own sugar craft classes through Adult Learning Wales, which have become increasingly very popular. I am also looking to set up some future Boost courses with Coleg Y Cymoedd where I can share my experiences and skills with the students.

Tell us about your qualifications

Foundation in Art and Design

HND in Photography and Digital Imaging

Level 1&2 Sugar craft

PGCE Teaching

Something interesting about you

My first born, who I originally got into cake decorating for, also makes cakes and joins me in the competitions. He entered his first competition aged 5 and has continued to enter every year since. My youngest is almost two and only shows interest in eating the cakes I make...even the competition ones when my back is turned.

Angela Fitzgerald

Angela Fitzgerald

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I have been teaching for 15 years at the college, teaching a variety of subjects at entry level. I teach Performing Arts including Drama, singing and dance and Creative subjects such as Photography, Media and Editing.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

I have a few highlights to share…

  1. Watching the learners shine, performing on stage at the Shakespeare for Schools festival, knowing how hard they have worked and how committed they have been to rehearsals and learning their lines.
  2. Seeing learners competing and a national level in the Inclusive Skills Competitions and deservedly winning.
  3. Receiving a Teaching and Learning Award.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

After leaving college I worked professionally as an actor, working in different repertory theatres around Europe and the UK. I’ve had a couple of ‘blink and you’ll miss me’ roles on the tele too!

Tell us about your qualifications

I graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1999 where I gained Ba Hons degree in Theatre Studies (acting).  I since gained my PGCE, took part in Touch Trust facilitator training, a Para Dance teaching qualification and BSL Level 1 & 2. I’m really hoping to travel to America later this year to take part in a 2 week intensive Physical Theatre course. I’m keeping everything crossed.

Something interesting about you

I’ve run the London Marathon twice. Never again!

Val Smith

Val Smith

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Enjoying my job still

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I teach yoga and meditation and have done for 23 years, this year! However, I have practised since the age of 12. I run workshops and a weekly yoga class which I love.

Over the years I have gathered more experience and qualifications in outdoor education and now run the DofE for our department in college.

Tell us about your qualifications

Cert Ed

Diploma in Education

C&G catering: 706 1/ 706 2/ 706 3

Basic Food Hygiene Award

First Aid at Work

ARCH Diploma in A&P and Colon Hydrotherapy

BWY Diploma

WGL

BELA Award

NNAS Gold

Mountain Bike Leader Award

Level 1 Bike Maintenance Award

BSY Diploma in Nutrition (vegan/vegetarian)

Something interesting about you

Health, Food, Outdoor exercise, People

Sue Smith

Sue Smith

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I teach numeracy, digital literacy and vocational subjects in the Vocational Access department.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

My greatest achievement during my time with Coleg y Cymoedd is playing a part in learners returning to education as adults and discovering a love of learning.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

I was previously employed in the electronics industry where I worked as a quality technician. 

Tell us about your qualifications

I have a BSc Hons in Mathematics and a PGCE in Secondary Mathematics. I also have a Level 5 Teaching Numeracy to Adults Certificate and a TEC Level 3 in Mechanical and Production Engineering. 

Something interesting about you

I enjoy reading in my spare time, doing jigsaws and walking.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

Phase 3 construction since August 2020

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

As I have only been in post since August, I would say my greatest achievement has been adapting to online teaching and making use of brilliant resources available to us to help facilitate remote learning.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

For the past 20 years I have worked in the construction industry as a carpenter. I have worked on commercial building sites as well as working in the domestic sector. Completing a range of projects from refurbishing houses, office blocks and pubs to fitting kitchens, doors, flooring and roofs. In September 2019 I started on a pgce course at our Nantgarw campus. As part of this I completed 70 teaching hours in the carpentry department. In August 2020 I started my role as a lecturer with vocational access in Ystrad Mynach.

Tell us about your qualifications

NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery, I am currently completing year 2 of the PGCE

Something interesting about you

In 2015 myself and 14 friends took my father who has multiple sclerosis to the summit of Ben Nevis in specially adapted wheelchair. Raising money for the Leonard Cheshire charity.

Helen Taylor-Hodges

Helen Taylor-Hodges

What do you teach at Coleg y Cymoedd?

I’ve been in the Vocational Access department at Coleg y Cymoedd for almost three years now. I started as a Learner Support Assistant and became a Job Coach when the ‘Gateway to Employment’ programme commenced in September 2019.

The Gateway to Employment programme is designed to help young people with additional learning needs aged 16 – 24 in finding work by giving them real life work-based experiences in a supported internship setting during their final year in college.

What is your greatest achievement during your time with us?

Seeing one of our learners progress from the programme last year to start working on an apprenticeship program in the Parks and Leisure department of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council. It’s lovely to see the learners work journey’s progress.

Tell us about your career and experience in Industry

Before starting work in the college I’ve had a few different career paths throughout the years which have given me a good head start when supporting our learners in going out to their job placements. 

I’ve had experience in retail, child care, social care, hospitality, customer services and the travel industry as well as working for different local councils in the education department and with voluntary organisations.

Tell us about your qualifications

I decided to go back to university 9 years ago (proving that it’s never too late to learn new things) and gained my Professional Certificate in Education in 2014.  I also have qualifications in speech and language support in the classroom, British sign language (level 1), customer services, child care and family support (nurturing)

Something interesting about you

My dream is to buy a campervan and tour through America and Canada in it, once I get to an age when I can retire.

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