College News

Students continue to achieve great A-level results

Students at Coleg Sir Gâr are once again celebrating, achieving an excellent set of A-level results where the percentage of A* - E grades was again extremely high at 98%, with 23 out of 30 subjects posting a 100% pass rate.

A-level performance in science and mathematics subjects has improved significantly with 78% of learners achieving A*-C grades, within an overall pass rate of 99%. In addition, a high percentage of students obtained the highest A* grade in A-level chemistry (13%), geography (12%), government and politics (17%) and further mathematics (18%), highlighting the hard work and dedication of both learners and staff across the A-level programme.

Students on the A-level Academic, Cultural, Excellence (ACE) programme achieved outstanding results with 50% of examination entries yielding either an A* or A grade, enabling them to go to their first choice of university, including those within the Sutton 30 Group.

Head of A-levels and Access, Mrs Vanessa Cashmore, said: “We are delighted at the success of our students and this reflects the hard work and effort of students and staff over the last two years of study at the college. 

“On behalf of all staff at the college we wish our learners every success as they go to the very best universities across the United Kingdom and into employment.”

Stephen Hughes, a former Bryngwyn Comprehensive School pupil obtained A* in geography, A* in government and politics, an A in history and an A in world development. Stephen will be studying geography at Churchill College at Cambridge University.

Georgina Knapman, a former St John Lloyd pupil obtained three A*s in chemistry, biology and mathematics and an AS in further mathematics at grade A. Georgina is going to study medicine at Imperial College, London. 

Rhys Austin, a former Coedcae student obtained 2A*s in chemistry and biology and an A grade in mathematics. Rhys is going to study pharmacy at Cardiff University.

Owen Wastell, a former St John Lloyd pupil obtained and A* in further mathematics, an A in mathematics, an A in physics and a B in geography. Owen is intending to study aeronautical engineering at the University of Surrey.

All four students have benefited by being part of the Carmarthenshire-Pembrokeshire SEREN network programme for more able and talented students.

Mr Barry Liles, Coleg Sir Gâr Principal, said: “It is great to see our students performing consistently well and to a high standard and performances in STEM subjects are particularly strong this year. 

“These A-level results along with an equally strong performance in the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate qualification will see our learners continue to progress to higher education, both locally at UWTSD and throughout the United Kingdom, to pursue their chosen careers.

“High grades on vocational programmes coupled with tremendous success in national skills competitions will enable vocational learners to progress to university, apprenticeships, higher level apprenticeships and future employment. 

“This excellent performance reflects the progression of students from the strong foundations laid in partner schools in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and beyond. On behalf of the college, I wish them the very best for the future.”


Jodi’s graduate counselling success

Jodi Hawker has overcome her fear of returning to education and has graduated from Coleg Sir Gâr with a foundation degree in counselling.

Counselling sessions received earlier in her life, gave Jodi the inspiration to study but doubts in her academic abilities together with a painful history of childhood abuse, planted seeds of hesitance.  However, she finally took the plunge and slowly worked her way up the counselling ladder to achieve a foundation degree with a distinction grade.  

During her studies, Jodi was fostering children and looking after her own two children including her son who suffers from Tourette’s and autistic spectrum disorder.  Her brother also very suddenly passed away during the start of the course.

Clearly, the first year of study was challenging and on the advice of her tutors, she visited the college learning support team who identified that she had dyslexia and dyspraxia. “This was very scary,” said Jodi. “But it also helped me understand why I found things difficult; it wasn’t because I wasn’t clever enough.”

Jodi began to enjoy learning and recognised various approaches to counselling such as Carl Rogers’ person centred therapy and Gerald Egan’s framework, which also helped her in her foster care work which she has been involved with for 17 years. 

Jodi Hawker said: “Ammanford campus is a really friendly place to be, I love the surroundings, it felt relaxed.

“Course tutors and learning support have been brilliant, the course is very deep and you do a lot of work on yourself but with tutor support we got through it and I wouldn’t change it for the world, it has changed my life.” 

Despite a job offer, Jodi is progressing to a BA honours counselling course at Coleg Sir Gâr and will continue counselling voluntarily for a local authority. 


Pic: Jodi Hawker who has graduated with distinction in a foundation degree in counselling at Coleg Sir Gâr. Pic credit Linda Wellington.


Returning to education resulted in UK graduate award

Nick Francis knew he needed to re-enter the education system if he was going to get a job he was passionate about.

With little education beyond his GCSEs, he pinned a rejection letter from a university application to his wall, and used it as motivation to find a foothold to his future. 

With an interest in the music industry, Nick applied for Coleg Sir Gâr’s extended diploma in music technology.  “The college was incredibly welcoming of me,” he said.  “I wasn’t sure if I’d be eligible because of my age but the college’s flexibility is what helped me to return to education.”

Being a mature student, Nick realised his second chance wasn’t to be missed and got involved in college activities and was soon voted as Student Union president which involved supporting students and being part of management meetings offering students a voice.  He also ran a live music even t in aid of Oxjam.  

Nick Francis said: “My experience of the course was pretty great in all honesty and my experience of college was pretty amazing.

“Mastering skills such as grammar and structuring assignments was also beneficial before starting a university education.”

Following a successful application to London Met University, Nick has this year graduated with a first class honours degree in film and broadcast production. 

As a result of his educational journey, Nick has won Adzuna’s Graduate of the Year award, a UK and international accolade which receives thousands of entries worldwide. 

He has also set-up Bespoke Insight Media, a freelance filmmaking company as well as receiving an employment offer from the Students Union at London Metropolitan University to prepare their media content for the next academic year. 


Lecturer’s success in Welsh arts scene

A collaboration between an art lecturer and a university professor has resulted in a competition win and a highly commended award in Swansea University’s Research as Art competition. 

Practicing artist Mandy Lane who teaches an honours degree course in sculpture at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art, worked in partnership with professor Kirsti Bohata, head of gender studies at Swansea University in a project culminating in a piece of artwork called Iron on the Dress.  The piece, which used molten iron and a 100 year old dress, was the artist’s response to the professor’s research into the life and fiction of British industrialist Amy Dillwyn, an early feminist writer who created one of the earliest examples of Victorian lesbian fiction. 

The university’s Research as Art competition is the only one of its kind with an interest in research and storytelling behind the artwork.

Mandy Lane said: “I was thrilled to be selected for the Wales Arts Review residency in March during which I worked with professor Bohata who helped me with my research into Amy Dillwyn.  

“She put forward her research and my artwork and I’m thrilled we were named as one of 15 winners.”

Above: Iron on the Dress.  Click here to learn more about Professor Bohata and her work.

Listen to the podcast: Wales Arts Review‘s artist in residence for March, Mandy Lane, discusses the figure at the centre of her project, the indefatigable Amy Dillwyn.

Watch the video: Iron on the dress being created at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art


College helps charity with fully-funded training

Coleg Sir Gâr’s Business Development Innovation team are currently working with Cerebra, a charity improving the lives of children with neurological conditions. 

Through the college team, who support businesses and organisations with training solutions, Cerebra is providing their staff with accredited City & Guilds training in telesales and ILM management, delivered by Coleg Sir Gâr and funded through Welsh Government support. 

Jemma Parsons, business development officer at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Cerebra felt it was important to provide telesales staff with accredited training as they are instrumental to the organisation and its funding.”

Kelly Gadd, head of HR and corporate affairs at Cerebra, said: "Coleg Sir Gâr has been Cerebra's main training provider this year and the results have been inspiring. 

“Our telephone marketing staff have received training in telesales, ensuring that they reach the required standard and achieve improved credibility and results when contacting supporters. 

“The course has been interesting and challenging and Coleg Sir Gâr have made accessing the course straightforward.

“Our marketing staff are receiving training in social media and digital marketing and feedback suggests that in addition to learning new techniques, their ways of thinking have also been challenged, making them consider the way that they work from different perspectives. 

“We are delighted with the results of the training so far, and look forward to continuing our training relationship with Coleg Sir Gâr."

To find out more about business training contact Jemma Parsons, Business Development Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01554 748344.

Picture: Cerebra staff

Textile graduates bursary success


Two textiles graduates at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art have been awarded the first ever Wonderwool Wales bursary.

Kathy Lloyd and Julia Davies who studied a BA honours degree in knit, weave and mixed media, were interviewed with other students at the college’s degree show by representatives from Wonderwool, which is the premier wool and natural fibre festival in Wales.

The pair won a £1,000 to support their first year as textile artists and will exhibit their work free of charge at Wonderwool next year.  

Llio James, course coordinator at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “We are delighted that the students have been recognised in this way and we are grateful to Wonderwool for extending such a great opportunity to our graduate winners.”



Photo credit: Wonderwool Wales Ltd. From left, Sharon Chilcott from Wonderwool, Sarah Stacey, Wonderwool, Kathy Lloyd and Julia Davies who won the Wonderwool bursary and Chrissie Menzies, Wonderwool


New project will innovatively reduce farm waste and help safeguard the environment

An innovative project is underway to address the agricultural industry's impact on the environment by developing a dewatering and purification system to manage slurry.

Driving the project are Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur agricultural campus and Power & Water, a Swansea based company specialising in electrochemical-based water treatments.

This Project has received funding through the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for rural Development and the Welsh Government.  The project will apply innovative and proven concept technology to reduce air and water pollution to reduce the overall volume of slurry by up to 80%.  A de-watering and purification system is used to filter slurry, transforming the water to a suitable quality for recycling or discharging to a clean watercourse. The system will also utilise nutrients from the slurry to produce good quality fertiliser. 

John Owen, farm manager at Coleg Sir Gâr, said: “With the intensification of the dairy industry, slurry management is becoming an increasing issue for farmers and the environment.  

“We aim to reduce significantly the risk of air and water pollution at the same time as maximising the recycling nutrient value. This development process will considerably reduce storage of slurry on farms as well as handling costs.

“Efficiently extracting nutrients from manures could save on the cost of commercial fertilisers and reduce serious environmental impact.  However poor manure management can cause pollutants, including nutrients, to enter the water cycle through run-off or drainage.”

The project also aims to design, develop and validate economically viable systems that will be made available commercially and used on farms. 

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) states that the number of pollution incidents caused by dairy and beef farms across Wales has fluctuated between 85 and 120 for each of the last six years.   Wet winters and a significant downturn in the dairy market have added to the pressure on the environment and farmers; reducing their capacity to invest in slurry and silage store management and over 60% of the incidents involving pollution during the last three years took place within the milk field of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.


  • According to the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in its ‘Agricultural Pollution Issues – and the implications for natural resource management’ document (Summer 2016), agricultural pollution is the third most frequent reason for failing to achieve good status in Wales.  It affects some 180 individual waterbodies.  The number of pollution incidents caused by dairy and beef farms across Wales has fluctuated between 85 and 120 for each of the last six (6) years.  Recent wet winters and a significant downturn in the dairy market have added to the pressure on the environment and farmers; reducing their capacity to invest in slurry and silage store management.
  • Point of source pollution incidents (such as those caused by overflowing slurry stores) are concentrated in particularly parts of Wales.  
  • The ongoing agricultural pollution arising from both point and diffuse sources is having a serious detrimental effect on the Welsh environment and impacts on the ability to meet WFD targets under the River Basin Management Programme.  This situation could lead to substantially extending the area currently covered by Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ). 

For further information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Students Union wins UK award

Coleg Sir Gâr has won the NUS Students’ Union of the Year Award representing the further education sector, at the annual NUS UK-wide awards.

Held at Birmingham NEC, the awards recognise the work carried out by students across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

The college was the only Welsh FE institution to win an award and was nominated following its success in the NUS Wales awards in March.

Student liaison officer Debbie Williams, who attended the awards with Coleg Sir Gâr Student Union president Kasha Ansari, said: “We’re thrilled that the hard work of our students has been recognised across the whole of the UK.

“The team of officers, who rarely get spare time from their studies, have been busy working on campaigns this year including a move to reinstate mytravelpass, which drew the interest of a local AM and PM and resulted in a continuation of the national scheme.

“The officers are completely self-funded but are extremely proactive in widening participation opportunities for students across all campuses and actively support their officers in issues including anti-bullying, LGBT and Welsh language initiatives.”

Students Union officers at Coleg Sir Gâr are also well represented across college management boards including corporate and advisory boards which the president and officers attend.


Pic: Coleg Sir Gâr Student Union president Kasha Ansari received the Students’ Union of the Year Award at Birmingham NEC with Debbie Williams, student liaison officer. 


Students enjoy graduation success


Over 1300 people attended Coleg Sir Gar's graduation ceremony, which invited Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice Chancellor of University of Wales Wales Trinity Saint David, to confer the awards.

Held at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli, the annual event is not only a celebration of academic success but for many, a celebration of an outstanding personal journey. 

This year's event included a mature couple who decided to change their careers around to work in social care and sport, and an animal welfare and behaviour student who through a college partnership with Folly Farm, received a position as a zoo keeper following an internship.

Employers also play a large part in supporting the development of individuals in the workforce by funding training from HNC to degree level.

Mike Williams, assistant principal at Coleg Sir Gar said: "We are constantly reviewing and developing our higher education provision, inviting industry specialists to contribute to course content. 

"With smaller classes and a particularly nurturing ethos, college lecturers are always very proud and delighted to be part of the students' graduation celebrations." 

The Beacon Bursary competition winner, jointly awarded by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Coleg Sir Gâr and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, was also presented during the graduation ceremony to textiles graduate Lian Cara Poulson who won a cash prize, free office space and business mentoring support to help develop her business.


Wales-wide project to identify BVD in cattle


A new project is being launched at this year’s Royal Welsh Show that aims to support Welsh farmers in eradicating bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in cattle. 

The project is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme and all cattle farms in Wales are eligible to be part of the project irrespective of size.  

Coleg Sir Gâr’s Agriculture Resource Centre is managing the project in partnership with the Royal Veterinary College and in particular Dr Neil Paton – lecturer in farm animal health and production - who has played a significant part in its development and is the project’s Veterinary Technical lead.  

BVD is a viral and immunosuppressive disease maintained by a small population of animals that become persistently infected and are a risk to the health of the rest of the herd.  This affects the farm’s production system in terms of cost and animal welfare issues that can lead to pneumonia, scour, infertility and reproductive disorders.

John Griffiths,  Agriculture Resource Centre manager based at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur campus who is also chair of Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework’s BVD eradication sub-group, said: “This new voluntary disease eradication programme will be conducted alongside Wales’s annual herd TB testing regime to help identify herds infected with BVD.  Support will also be available to locate the PI animals from infected herds.

“The testing phase will continue over a three year period when complete we’ll hopefully be in an improved position with regards to BVD in Wales with the aim of making Wales BVD free.”

The new project, entitled Animal Health & Welfare Wales - Eradicating Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) in Wales, will be officially announced at this year’s Royal Welsh Show and launched in September. 





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