On Friday, 17th November 2023, Coleg y Cymoedd opened the doors of its Nantgarw campus to prominent figures spearheading the charge for sustainability. 60 conservation-conscious students gathered for the day-long symposium setting them up to make their mark as the future green workforce of Wales.
The list of industry-leading guest speakers included keynote speaker, UN Ambassador for Migratory Species and Adventurer, Sacha Dench, nature TV presenter, Iolo Williams, Câr-y-Môr co-founder, Francois Beyers, and mentor and impact specialist, Andy Middleton, who inspired attendees by sharing their personal journeys as entrepreneurs in the field of sustainability.
Through their environmental engagement sessions, the team of mentors encouraged students to develop a curiosity about what is possible so that they can make sustainable changes that matter.
In the afternoon’s workshop, ‘Your Personal Compass’, students questioned what sustainability means to them. With the motivation of their mentors, they worked in groups to pinpoint the actions they could take to make a difference in their college and community.
The range of practical, real-world advice shared meant that learners studying courses from Engineering to Creative Industries could each apply what they learned to their daily lives and studies, preparing them for ‘incredible futures’ in higher education, employment and beyond.
Developed in partnership with Conservation without Borders and Wild Connect, Cymoedd’s Conference of Possibilities established a relationship between mentors and students which will continue throughout the academic year. The mentorships are essential in creating opportunities for the young people to achieve their potential in line with Welsh Government’s Net Zero Skills Action Plan.
Speaking of the impact of the Conference of Possibilities, and what this means for Welsh industry, Partnership Development and Innovation Coordinator, Alistair Aston, said:
“The idea of how to tackle something a big as the current climate crisis can seem impossible to navigate as an individual.
Working with Sacha and her team of environmental mentors at the ‘Conference of Possibilities’ has really empowered both students and staff at Coleg y Cymoedd to re-engage with nature and explore the opportunities that exist within the green economy and the workforce of the future.”
Rhondda Cynon Taff