College News

Pupils invited for Welsh taster at college

Pupils studying Welsh at GCSE level were invited to Coleg Sir Gâr to take part in workshops designed to give a flavour of learning A-level Welsh at second language.

Organised by the A-level department, the college’s Llanelli partner schools attended workshops and talks at the college, which were supported by Swansea University and Coleg Cenedlaethol Cymru. 

The event also included an inspiring talk by former Coleg Sir Gâr A-level student Cara Llywelyn Davies who went back to college after university to study Welsh part-time as she wanted to be able to speak Welsh at work.  Cara won the crown at the South West Wales Learner Eisteddfod whilst at college.

Although Cara studied Welsh at GCSE level, she always regretted not pursuing it.  “I chose mistakenly not to pursue Welsh at A-level,” she said.  “Having worked in Welsh-speaking communities as an adult, I felt a sense of disappointment that I hadn’t made the effort to learn. As a non-Welsh speaker, I missed out on so many cultural events from the Eisteddfod to Welsh language gigs. My advice to learners would be to jump in and don’t let fear hold you back.”

Philippa Smith, A-level lecturer at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “The event was aimed at bridging the gap between GCSE and A-level and hopefully we inspired pupils into continuing their Welsh studies.” 



College hosts specialist equine event

Coleg Sir Gâr’s equine section organised a specialist presentation for equine enthusiasts at their animal and equine centre in Pibwrlwyd, Carmarthen, which was delivered by Dr Caroline Benoist, CEO for The Neue Schule Academy.

The event focussed on the effects of the bit in the horse’s mouth and how this knowledge is used to improve the welfare of the horse when choosing a bit.  

Dr Benoist presented an in-depth talk about equine welfare including bit-induced injuries the level of poll pressure created with specific bits, bit design, force distribution, understanding the difference between specific bits such as a French link and Dr Bristol 

The Neue Schule Academy examines the effects of the bit on a horse to improve welfare through lorinery science. 

Danielle Griffiths from Coleg Sir Gâr’s equine department organised the event.  She said: “Dr Benoist’s knowledge is extensive and that showed in her presentation.

“As a training provider in equine studies, we were thrilled to be able to welcome Caroline in an informal event that we could share with the wider equine community.” 

Dr Caroline Benoist from The Neue Schule Academy at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Animal and Equine Studies Centre in Carmarthen in a bits and bitting information event.

Additional photos


Zoo partnership benefits students and animal welfare

BSc animal behaviour and welfare students at Coleg Sir Gâr are benefitting from a partnership with an industry specialist in zoology and conservation.

Students following the honours degree programme are undertaking dissertation research at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo which houses over 750 species of animals ranging from Parma wallabies to African lions.  

In addition, the college’s Animal Studies Centre, based in Carmarthen, has established links with many other employers which have resulted in internships and employment opportunities for many graduates.  Following graduation, Coleg Sir Gâr Unistats data shows that 80% of students gain employment in their field or are in post-graduate study and that student satisfaction is higher than some of the leading universities delivering animal science programmes. 

Coleg Sir Gâr’s partnership with Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo is long-established as are the college’s animal studies qualifications.  Tim Morphew, zoo curator at Folly Farm played a significant part in the module content when the BSc animal behaviour and welfare degree was being designed. “We consulted with Tim and other industry representatives when we designed the course,” said animal science lecturer Janet Morgan.  “We assigned 350 hours of compulsory work-based experience, which has resulted in many graduates gaining employment and work-ready skills.”

Tim Morphew, zoo curator at Folly Farm said: “The fact that students undertake their dissertations and animal behaviour research projects at the zoo means that the zoo is also benefitting.”

“Behavioural research within a zoo is part of our commitment to the animals and develops our understanding because welfare is a top priority for us and the student projects enable us to improve facilities or adjust practices to advance our husbandry and we share this knowledge with other similar establishments.”

The research being carried out by students at the zoo have included the benefits of scent environmental enrichment for African lions, the behaviour of herded male giraffes and the plight of the macaques, the most traded primate species in Moroccon pet markets. 

Janet Morgan added: “Another unique opportunity offered on our programmes is our flexible study options which allow for a wide range of learners, from those already in employment to those aiming for a change of career, helping local people to access a specialist education.”

Last year, 50 per cent of graduates on the college’s BSc programmes achieved first-class honours degrees, awarded by University of Wales Trinity Saint David.



Equine students’ competition success


Coleg Sir Gâr equine students have been training hard with college horses Gateway Welsh Lad and Cilrhedyn Krakatoa preparing for the British Riding Club Area 21 Summer Dressage Qualifiers.

Representing Cwmaman Riding Club, level three horse management students Faye North and Sophie Jones competed for the very first time.  Sophie, riding Cilrhedyn Krakatoa in the junior prelim 14 class, took first place.  Faye also took first place in the junior novice 34.  Faye also achieved her first ever prelim rider test and gained fourth place. 

Horse care student Rhianedd Oxenham rode her own horse, Holly Gate Heart Throb for Beacons Riding Club junior and won first place in the junior prelim 18 class.

As a result of their success, the three will be representing their clubs at the British Riding Club National Championships in September.


Pic: Coleg Sir Gâr student Faye North riding college horse, Gateway Welsh Lad, representing Cwmaman Riding Club at the British Riding Club Area 21 Summer Dressage Qualifiers


Lecturer presented with Pearson Teaching Award

Coleg Sir Gâr lecturer Charlie Hammond, has won a silver award in the Pearson Teaching Awards’ category of outstanding use of technology.

Selected from thousands of nominations across the UK and Ireland, Charlie, who runs outdoor adventure courses at the college’s Graig campus, is one of 56 winners who are being recognised for their innovative teaching methods.

Charlie will join fellow silver award winners at the UK final of the Pearson Teaching Awards held in London on October 22 where they will find out who has won just one of 11 Gold Plato Awards, the UK’s Oscars for Teachers. 

Louis Dare, e-learning development manager at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Charlie has effectively adopted the use of ILT in the classroom using Google Classroom as a platform for assignments, learner files and course management.

“He’s highly proactive and experimental and has excelled in the project using student feedback as the core driver for progression.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK said: “It's an honour for us to support the Teaching Awards each year. Great teaching can have a huge impact on a child's education so it’s vital for us to recognise and celebrate inspirational teachers, for their commitment to teaching and learning and for improving the life chances of the next generation.  All those receiving a silver trophy today should feel extremely proud of their achievement and I Iook forward to meeting them at the final ceremony later this year."

This ceremony, entitled Britain’s Classroom Heroes, will be filmed and broadcast by the BBC as a showcase of excellence in education.


Charlie Hammond in a surprise celebration by staff and students at  Coleg Sir Gâr's Graig campus. He is pictured with Amanda Daniels, director of teaching, learning and staff development. 

Nina presented with Wales-wide award for adult learning

A fashion degree student at Coleg Sir Gâr has won an Inspire adult learner’s progression award which recognises the achievements of exceptional individuals who have overcome significant challenges in their lives.

Before returning to education, Nina Miklaszewicz had faced many challenges, including bringing up five children on her own, living in a women’s refuge and working three jobs to try and make ends meet. 

In celebration of her achievements, in June this year, Nina Miklaszewicz was invited to a prestigious awards ceremony in Cardiff where she received the Wales-wide award at the largest celebration of adult learning in Europe.

Despite being a bright pupil, Nina left school at 16 due to her low attendance, as she was caring for a family member.

Nominated for the Inspire Progression Award by Steve Kelshaw, director of learner support at Coleg Sir Gâr, he said: “Nina’s journey is incredible; she is the embodiment of this award as an adult learner who has progressed against the odds.” 

Nina’s step back into education happened by chance when she accompanied a friend in a wheelchair to an open evening at Coleg Sir Gâr. She spoke to a tutor who recognised her potential, which led to a successful course application. “When you are told you can do something it’s like magic dust to someone who feels worthless,” said Nina Miklaszewicz.

The first in her family to go to university, Nina used her new qualification to progress to a fashion degree.  “It’s not just me that deserves a chance,” she said. “People who have nothing are the ones who will work hard, they have fire in their belly and have something to prove. They only need a hand on to the ladder and they will run up it.”

Previously describing herself as ‘written off’, Nina is now more determined than ever.  “I am determined that my children and grandchildren get an education and we can break this cycle of poverty and no ambition,” she said. “It has taken me 40 years to get here and I’m not going to give up now.”

Debbie Gill, who recognised her potential during her first visit to the college, said: “When I met Nina it was her passion, enthusiasm and drive to succeed that inspired me to support her. 

“It’s wonderful to see that her motivation and drive to further her own education is having such a positive influence on her children's education.”



Pic: Nina Miklaszewicz, a Coleg Sir Gâr fashion degree student who won the Wales-wide Inspire Adult Learner’s Progression award


Agricultural engineering shield presented

An 18 year-old agricultural engineering student at Coleg Sir Gâr has won the John Hancock Shield for his skills in design and engineering.

Thomas Mathias, from Haverfordwest, designed and manufactured a mechanical net lifter for a round baler, which eases the lifting weight for the bale operator when using large rolls of net of up to 45kg.

Studying an extended diploma in agricultural engineering at the college’s Gelli Aur campus, Thomas took part in the annual project where final year students are asked to design or modify a working product for the agricultural industry.

The John Hancock shield is presented every year to help raise the profile of agricultural engineering, raise aspirations and highlight the skills levels and careers in the industry.

Students were asked to come up with three concepts, then choose and manufacture their chosen design or modification and present their research and costings to a panel of judges.

Geraint Evans, agricultural engineering lecturer at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “The whole class presented their ideas very professionally to the judges, I was proud of every one of them and their manufactured designs.” 


Welsh awards for health and social care students

Health and social care students at Coleg Sir Gâr have won a gold and silver award in a Wales-wide competition.

Debbie Dorritt (left), who won gold and Alisha Conde (right), who won the silver award are both studying a level one diploma in health and social care at the college’s Graig campus in Llanelli.

Inspired by Coleg Sir Gâr student Ebony Evans, who won a UK silver award at last year’s Skills Show, the pair put themselves forward for the Health and Life Sciences category of Skills Competition Wales’s inclusive skills competition, which was judged by Sam Jones, deputy manager of Blaenos House Care Home.

Backed by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales is a series of events held in colleges across the country, designed to celebrate vocational skills and create highly skilled, award winning employees for the Welsh workforce.

Sue Hope-Bell, Coleg Sir Gâr lecturer said: “The competition brief comprised of planning a day out for an older adult, taking into account any medical or additional needs and personal preferences, how they communicate with the service user and incorporating health and safety into the plan.

“They completed a risk assessment and talked the judge through how they would best support the individual, they have used knowledge from all units studied this year during their level one diploma in health and social care.”


Supporting local talent

Llanelli Town Council has played a key supporting role in Coleg Sir Gâr’s Sports Academy as its leading sponsor.

The academy, which is open to all students, provides around 180 students with the opportunity of achieving their maximum potential in individual and team sports.

Within an academy student’s timetable are designated sessions in strength and conditioning, coaching, and physiotherapy support to develop competition performance. Teams play in a range of Welsh and British championships including the televised WRU U18s league and the English Colleges Football Association league. 

Llanelli Town Council is the academy’s principal sponsor this year and the partnership has been greatly valued by the college following a supply of a brand new kit for the girls’ rugby team and support for all academy players to present a professional appearance at all events. 

Gary Jones, Town Clerk at Llanelli Town Council, recently presented sports academy students with their annual awards at the college.  He said: “Llanelli Town Council continues to support sporting organisations through its sponsorship programme and the council is very proud to be the leading sponsor of the Sports Academy at Coleg Sir Gar.  

“The annual awards ceremony highlighted not only the achievements of the students but also the dedication and commitment of the college staff and their drive to make the Academy the success it is.” 

Elaine Rees, assistant curriculum head at Coleg Sir Gâr, added: “With increasing funding issues affecting the further education sector, it’s very challenging to provide all our teams, who do a great job representing the college, with a professional look.

“The academy is very popular and without the help of Llanelli Town Council, this would not have been possible.”


Above pic: Mr Gary Jones from Llanelli Town Council, presenting rugby academy student Mollie North with Coleg Sir Gâr’s Players’ Player of the Year award and (below) previously Mr Bill Thomas with Coleg Sir Gâr Sports Academy students at the Graig campus showing their new kit.  




Welsh bronze award for engineering students

Three engineering students from Coleg Sir Gâr have won a bronze award at a Wales-wide competition.

Crisaldo Paiste, Alfie Newton and Richard Harrison took part in the Manufacturing Team Challenge, run by Skills Competitions Wales.  

The event, held in North Wales, challenged competitors to design and manufacture a trailer kart, including brake lights and indicators that could attach to a bicycle.

Adrian Joseph, engineering lecturer at Coleg Sir Gâr, said: “Working to a specification, competitors were tasked with producing a working product which was tested and judged by a panel of industry representatives.

“Our students manufactured a durable and effective design, proven by a speed and strength test which showed it was the fastest design and could carry more weight than its 56kg specification.”

Skills Competitions Wales are a Welsh Government-backed initiative that feeds into the national final of the Skills Show in Birmingham and WorldSkills UK.


Pic: Wales-wide bronze: From left, Coleg Sir Gâr engineering students Alfie Newton (fabrication and welding), Richard Harrison (electrical and electronic) and Crisaldo Paiste (mechanical).




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