College News

Train for a creative career in a growing industry

Employment in the creative industries sector in the UK is growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce, according to statistics from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The creative industries section at Coleg Sir Gâr recognises that the sector is a growth area and that industry links are an essential part of all creative industries programmes. 

Students recently received a visit from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), which substantiated that students finding employment after their studies was at an all-time high. 

Ian Evans, head of stage management and technical theatre at RWCMD talked to students about his 100 per cent study-to-employment rate as a result of the range of growing opportunities in the industry. These include former students who boast some of the most desirable careers in the industry such as those who have progressed to global careers running productions such as Warhorse to those who are working as stage managers for Wicked The Musical and those who are working with the likes of Beyonce on her world tour. 

Statistics from DCMS also show that employment in the UK creative economy rose by 5.1 per cent in 2015 from 2.9m and specifically within creative industries, the number of jobs rose by 3.2 per cent to 1.9m and to compare, average UK employment rose by only 2 per cent.

For those thinking about a career in creative industries, from working behind the scenes to performance roles, have the opportunity of employment in set design, lighting, theatre, automation and rigging, TV and film. Audio-visual work is growing at a considerable rate as more demand for video is arising from theatre companies, the music industry and TV shows.

Pinewood Studios, a leading provider of services to the global film and television industry has also opened its Pinewood Studios Wales facility in Cardiff in partnership with the Welsh Government, which is a positive move for the TV and film industry in Wales. 

Creative industries at Coleg Sir Gâr is highly supported by industry partners. Courses include creative media production, music technology, production arts, dance, performing arts and drama.  

A significant leaning towards working with external partners is a strong and established practice at the college in all areas including performance programmes.

Sarah Hopkins, head of creative industries at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “This is an exuberant time to be training in all aspects of creative industries and we’re delighted to be offering industry-standard and industry focussed training for those who want to progress to university or into employment.”

 

Prince’s Trust award for educational achievements

Coleg Sir Gâr student Cordelia Davies has won the Prince’s Trust Educational Achiever Award which was presented at National Museum Cardiff.

Home-schooled Cordelia Davies studied on the college’s Fresh Start programme which helps people onto the educational ladder and is delivered at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Pibwrlwyd campus.  

Cordelia has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Kyphoscoliosis, which make her prone to broken bones and joint dislocation. She said: “I loved learning from home, but even though I am very sociable, the closer I got to college age, the more I started to worry about fitting in; how things worked, the routine and everything else.

“I was introduced to our lecturer Tanya Knight on the summer workshop and she was really nice and welcoming and made time for me and answered all my questions.

“I have really enjoyed the Fresh Start course because I like the variety of subjects which helped me decide what career I wanted to do in the future, I had many possible career choices but this course has really helped me decide.”

Tanya Knight, Fresh Start coordinator at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “We’re very proud of Cordelia’s achievements and her national award. 

“She has approached her studies with enthusiasm and has benefited from support from staff and mentors within the Fresh Start programme.

“Cordelia also took part in college transition sessions during the summer where we run activities and team building events to familiarise those who are not used to or are anxious of an educational environment.

“Elected as Coleg Sir Gâr disabled students officer and class representative, Cordelia has shown that returning to education, with the right support, is highly achievable and a positive experience.”

Cordelia has progressed to study a level one qualification in art and design at the college to follow her aspirations of becoming an art teacher.

 

Pic: Coleg Sir Gâr Fresh Start student Cordelia Davies who has won the Prince’s Trust Educational Achiever Award

 

Taste of university lectures for A-level students

A-level students at Coleg Sir Gâr welcomed lectures in precision medicine and criminology as part of the Brilliant Club’s visiting lecture programme.

The national scheme helps young people develop the knowledge and ambition to help them secure places at highly selective universities and as part of the programme, students are allocated a university tutor.

Bridget Kerr from Swansea University delivered a session on criminology, exploring concepts and theories from psychology and sociology and applying them to real-life crime stories and criminal justice processes.

Alice Luther delivered an in-depth session on the rise of precision medicine, developing students’ understanding of biological molecules and learning about transcription and translation and applying the knowledge to understand antibody-drug conjugates as a new therapy. 

Vanessa Cashmore, head of A-levels at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “The sessions explored really interesting subjects, comprehensively investigating how cells work and react and how criminology plays a part in our society and media. 

“I’m thrilled that our students can experience lectures at university level, it gives them a real insight into the thought processes and academic activity involved when they leave college.”

 

Players’ national call

Two students at Coleg Sir Gâr have been selected for the FAW’s U19s Wales football team.

Barbering student Liam Testino and A-level student Ben Honeybun, both 18, will be taking on England Independent Schools at St George’s Park and the RAF U23s team at RAF Cosford, Wolverhampton.

Jonathan Garcia, head of Coleg Sir Gâr’s football academy said: “Excellent performances by Liam and Ben which have resulted in selection for the national squad, we’re very pleased.”

Liam also plays centre-half for Carmarthen Town FC and Ben is centre-midfield for Seaside AFC.

 

     

 

Engineering student wins UK gold

 

An engineering student from Llanelli has put Carmarthenshire on the map by winning a gold medal at the Skills Show in Birmingham, the largest skills competition in the UK.

Coleg Sir Gâr HNC electronics/electrical student Adam Bedner, who is an apprentice at Gestamp in Llanelli, competed in the industrial electronics category. 

Adam Bedner said: “Competitors were asked to finish a circuit board design from a schematic.

“We also had to change a printed circuit board design, undertake soldering tasks, apply skills in fault finding and repair and use C-Programming to drive the function of a drinks dispenser and amending the programme to suit various coins and fluid quantities.”

Within a two-hour ceremony which presented medals to the best competitors in the UK, Adam’s name was called amongst the gold medal winners.

Adam Bedner added: “It was a nice shock, I didn’t expect to win gold but was hoping for maybe a bronze or with a bit of luck a silver.

“However, for me it’s not just about the gold medal, it’s about the experiences of my competition journey and the people I’ve met as that goes a long way in my personal and professional career.”

Adam won a bronze medal in industrial electronics in a Skills Competition Wales event last year which secured his place at the Skills Show.

 

Pic: Coleg Sir Gâr engineering student Adam Bedner with his UK gold medal from this year’s Skills Show where he competed in the industrial electronics category.

 

Ammanford student wins UK gold

A student from Ammanford has put Carmarthenshire on the map by winning a gold medal at the Skills Show in Birmingham, the largest skills competition in the UK.

Coleg Sir Gâr student Joshua Kerr, competed in the inclusive skills carpentry category at the NEC where he took part in a three-hour woodworking task.

Inclusive Skills is part of the Skills Show as well as Skills Competitions Wales and is backed by the Welsh Government to celebrate vocational skills for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities to help equip them with essential life, learning and employability skills. 

Joshua, who studies an entry level qualification in timber products as part of his course at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Ammanford campus said: “Being successful in this competition has made me think of all the different things I could do with a carpentry qualification, there’s so many options in the woodwork trade.”

Ian Smith entry level team leader said: “All of the staff and learners are very proud of Josh and his achievements. 

“The benefits of entering skills competitions are evident to all and the success of the competitions also relies on the hard work of members of staff dedicated to working with learners, so big congratulations to all involved.”

 

A-Level students working with university scholars

Coleg Sir Gâr is driving academic study for its A-Level students as the college signs-up to another year of the Brilliant Club, a national university level scholar scheme.

The scheme helps young people develop the knowledge, skills and ambition, to help them secure places at highly selective universities and this year it was launched at Bristol University.

This year, there are two groups taking part in the precision medicine programme and in addition, students will also take part in the criminology programme for the first time.

Coleg Sir Gâr science students began their scholarly journey last year when they put their careers under the microscope and worked with Dr Goitseone Lucy Hopkins, an expert in biomedical science in the area of acute myeloid leukaemia. 

At the launch, they were taught the fundamentals of academic writing to prepare them not only for higher level study but for the work they’ll be undertaking with a PhD programme lecturer at college where they’ll be working at university level.

Vanessa Cashmore, head of A-Levels at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “We are delighted to be able to give our students this opportunity again this year.

“Unfortunately there are limited places on the programme but it does mean that 13 of our students will benefit from an incredible opportunity which will only enhance their academic careers.”

 

Pic: Coleg Sir Gâr A-Level students at Bristol University taking part in the launch of the national scholar scheme, The Brilliant Club.

 

College plastering team wins UK award

The built environment team at Coleg Sir Gâr are celebrating being awarded a Worshipful Company of Plaisterers’ award which was recently presented at the Plaisterers’ Hall in London.

The Plaisterers’ Training Awards recognise the highest standards of achievement in training and education within the UK plastering trade.

Coleg Sir Gâr won the Sir John Pirie Cup award which is aimed at smaller colleges but awarded to those who have the highest percentage of students achieving NVQs, SVQ level two, ICA and diplomas. 

Ian Law, assistant curriculum head at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “We’re very proud of our plastering team for being awarded such a prestigious and nationally-acclaimed award.”

 

Pic: Mike Williams, Coleg Sir Gâr plastering lecturer receives the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers’ Sir John Pirie Cup at the 2017 training awards held in London from former City mayor, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley. 

 

A-level students supported by academic network

A-level students at Coleg Sir Gâr have the opportunity to strengthen their academic abilities and widen their aspirations thanks to the Seren network.

Seren is a Wales-wide network consisting of regional hubs designed to support the nation’s brightest sixth formers achieve their academic potential and gain access to leading universities and careers.

First year A-level students recently attended the Seren network’s conference at Parc y Scarlets which delivered specialist workshops in law and medicine, facilitated by top universities. Students also received inspirational talks, which included advice from Oxford University. 

Coleg Sir Gâr is supporting over 40 students from their A-level programme in the Welsh Government-funded Seren network which will help them gain access to the top universities.

Nikki Neale, executive committee member for Seren West Wales and campus and faculty director at Coleg Sir Gâr, said: “The West Wales Seren network provides our most able students in Carmarthen and Pembrokshire with a range of opportunities to enable them to compete for those highly sought after university places at Oxbridge and the Russell Group. 

“This is the third year we have run the conference at Parc y Scarlets and it kicks off this year's programme for our current cohort. During the year, there will be specific sessions for those wishing to study medicine, veterinary science, languages, law and engineering as well as visits to Oxford and talks from Cambridge.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our own students from Coleg Sir Gâr’s academic ACE programme take full advantage of these experiences. 

“Hopefully we will have more students following the likes of Stephen Hughes, who was one of our first Seren participants and has this year started studying geography at Churchill College, Cambridge.”

According to a survey, 95% of Seren network students have applied or expect to apply for a Russell Group university and there has been a rise in Oxbridge applications from Wales since the initiative began with some students successfully applying as far as Harvard and Yale.

 

    

Students to compete at NEC Skills Show final

With a medal of excellence under their belt from WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, Coleg Sir Gâr will be looking for another medal haul at the Skills Show held at Birmingham NEC this November.

The college will be represented at the Skills Show - the biggest skills competition in the UK, by 14 students competing in categories including health and life sciences, plastering, forensic science and restaurant service.

From regional to international level, Coleg Sir Gâr is no stranger to skills competitions bringing back nine medals from the Skills Show last year, including four golds and three silver medals. The college’s success on the international stage is also well documented bringing back medals from EuroSkills and WorldSkills.

The Skills Show is the UK final of all the regional skills competition that have previously taken place across the country. It attracts around 72,000 visitors and the support of over 200 national and local employers and training organisations.

The event is highly interactive and promotes the value of exceptionally high standards in skills areas including construction and logistics, engineering and technology, health and hospitality, digital and business and creative and design.

The Skills Show highlights the skills of those competitors hoping to progress to represent the UK at WorldSkills 2019 which is being held in Kazan, Russia.

College principal Barry Liles will be at the event supporting Coleg Sir Gâr students and those from Wales in his role as Skills Champion for Wales.

Update (15.11.17)* A new competitor, Chris Kirkham, will be competing in the construction metalworks competition.

Meet the competitors representing Coleg Sir Gâr

 

Kate Evans

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 19

Former School: Ysgol Gyfun y Strade

Course: Level 2 NVQ Professional Cookery and Food Beverage Services

Employment: Stradey Park Hotel, Restaurant Supervisor

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • November 2016 – SkillsUK – Gold Medal – Restaurant Services
  • March 2016 – Skills Competition Wales – Restaurant Services – Silver
  • March 2015 – Skills Competition Wales – Restaurant Services (team of two) – Gold
  • Institute of Hospitality – All Wales Competition (team of six) – Gold

Daniel Morgan

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 19

Former School: Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth

Course: Level 2 NVQ Professional Cookery and Food Beverage Services

Current: Level three Apprenticeship in Hospitality Leadership at Pheonix, Gorslas (SA Brain & Co Ltd)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • March 2016 – Skills Competition Wales – Bronze
  • March 2017 – Skills Competition Wales – Gold
  • Competed at Skills Show, 2016 in the restaurant services category

Kane Lewis

Skills Show Competition Category: Plastering

Age: 20

Former School: St John Lloyd Comprehensive

Course: City & Guilds Diploma in Plastering

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • First place – Welsh Regional Final

Phoebe Mclavy

Skills Show Competition Category: Hairdressing

Age: 18

Former School: Queen Elizabeth Cambria

Course: Apprenticeship (level two)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • SkillsUK – Regional Heat – Silver

Adam Bedner

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 21

Former School: Overseas

Course: HNC Electrical/Electronic Engineering

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Skills Competition Wales – Advanced Electronics – Bronze

Iestyn Vaughan

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 21

Former School: Queen Elizabeth Cambria

Course: Skills for Work LE3

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Gold – Skills Competition Wales

Joshua Kerr

Skills Show Competition Category: Basic Woodworking Skills (Level 3)

Age: 19

Former School: Amman Valley Comprehensive

Course: ILS Moderate Entry L3

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • The Skills Show 2016 – Silver – Inclusive Skills Carpentry

Debbie Dorrit

Skills Show Competition Category: Health and Social Care Diploma (level two)

Age: 16

Former School: Ysgol Gyfun y Strade

Course: Level 2 NVQ Professional Cookery and Food Beverage Services

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Welsh National Final - Health and Life Sciences Level 1 – Gold

Alisha Conde

Skills Show Competition Category: Health and Life Sciences (Level 2)

Age: 17

Former School: St John Lloyd Comprehensive

Course: Health and Social Care Diploma (Level 2)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Welsh National Final - Health and Life Sciences Level 1 – Silver

Caitlin Evans

Skills Show Competition Category: Hairdressing Entry Level 3

Age: 17

Former School: Ysgol Gyfun y Strade

Course: NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing (level 2)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Inclusive Skills Hairdressing – Skills Cymru – Gold

Danielle Williams

Skills Show Competition Category: Hairdressing Entry Level 3

Age: 18

Former School: Bryngwyn

Course: NVQ Hairdressing (Level 3)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Inclusive Skills Hairdressing – Skills Cymru – Silver

Piotr Swiadr

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 17

Former School: Coedcae

Course: A Levels (Law, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • WorldSkills UK Forensic Science Competition - Silver

Oliver Penney

Skills Show Competition Category: Patisserie

Age: 18

Former School: Queen Elizabeth High School

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Skills Competition Wales - Gold Medal - Culinary Skills

Thomas Morgan-Davies

Skills Show Competition Category: Restaurant Service

Age: 17

Former School: Amman Valley Comprehensive

Course: Professional Cookery (Level 2) and currently Restaurant Services (L2)

Previous competition success at Coleg Sir Gâr

  • Skills Competition Wales – Bronze – Patisserie
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