Staff and learners at Coleg y Cymoedd are celebrating after alumnus Professor Julien Baker received an Association of Colleges Gold Award at a ceremony at the House of Commons.
The awards celebrate the success of further education alumni and acknowledge the vital role that colleges play in building the foundation of successful careers.
Staff and learners from Coleg y Cymoedd attended the star-studded awards ceremony in London on 10 June where Professor Baker was presented with his AoC Gold Award by Lord Willis of Knaresborough.
On accepting the award, he said: â€œObviously the college gave me the opportunity to attend university and fulfil my ambitions. There is a pool of academic talent locally across the United Kingdom that may mature later than the traditional 16 to 18-year-olds that attend, or get a university education through the more traditional routes.
â€œColleges of further education (FE) not only provide exceptional vocational education, but provide a traditional educational perspective/roadmap that includes a mechanism for both traditional and non-traditional academics to maximize their potential and realise total academic development.â€
Professor Baker, who completed a one-year pre-apprenticeship programme while at the then Rhondda College in 1971, went on to take up an apprenticeship in engineering as a toolmaker with FSG Ltd. He left his apprenticeship in 1973 without completing it and instead went to Pontypridd Technical College to study GCEs in English Language and Art.
After working in industry for a number of years, he decided on a career change and returned to Pontypridd Technical College to study BTEC Building Studies with civil engineering at levels two and three. He progressed to the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff where he graduated with a BA Hons in Exercise Science in 1988. He subsequently gained an MSc in Exercise Science at University of Loughborough in 1989, a PhD in Human Physiology at University of Glamorgan in 2000 and a Doctor of Science at the University of West of Scotland in 2013.
Professor Baker is currently the Director of Research at the Institute of Clinical Exercise at the University of West Scotland. His current research interests include the use of high intensity exercise models in the management of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Alongside, Professor Baker, Coleg y Cymoedd nominated Calum Haggett as a learner showing promise in a similar field to receive the Association of Colleges â€˜Future Starâ€™ accolade. Calum (18) is studying A Levels in Biology, Maths and Physics at the college whilst simultaneously captaining the Welsh age group teams in Rugby Union, recently touring South Africa as captain of the Wales U18 Rugby Union Squad.
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Heol y Coleg
Rhondda Cynon Taff