College News

Top performing A-levels prepared Sarah for veterinary training

Sarah Kelleher left Coleg Sir Gâr with A-levels in chemistry, maths and biology, which armed her with the qualifications she needed to study veterinary medicine and surgery at Nottingham University.

She also left with the college’s Achievement of Excellence Award for A-level and access to higher education studies, which celebrates the very best of the best.

The college achieved an overall 99% pass rate for its A-levels at grades A* to E this year with subjects in science and maths achieving a high percentage of A* grades; a significant factor which played a key part in Sarah achieving her top grades.

The former Coedcae pupil is now studying at Nottingham University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, which was her first choice of university.

Speaking about one of her chemistry tutors Julia Clement, Sarah Kelleher said: “You helped me with my work, personal statement and generally helped me to develop my confidence which has allowed me to achieve my goal of attending Nottingham University.”

Julia Clement added: “Sarah was an outstanding student and she applied herself to reaching her goal with hard work and sheer determination.

“She used her time at college very effectively and wisely as well as organising work experience to gain practical veterinary skills; she thoroughly deserves her place at university and we wish her well.”

Sarah also gained an AS in physics during her second year of A-level study and was part of the national academic programmes the Brilliant Club and the Seren Network in which she took part in a series of activities including a university visiting lecture programme and a veterinary conference.


Pics: Sarah Kelleher with her family at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Achievement of Excellence Awards held at the Stradey Park Hotel and a thank you card she created for her A-level tutors


Slurry management project reveals prototype


A ground-breaking Carmarthenshire-based project is developing a slurry management system which has launched a working prototype designed to benefit all farms of any size.

Prosiectslyri Project is a Welsh Government funded project run in partnership with Coleg Sir Gâr and Swansea-based company, Power and Water.

The project is developing a cost-effective slurry dewatering and water purification system in response to the increasing volumes of slurry and deteriorating water quality in rivers due to the intensification of dairy farming.

Due to significant interest from the industry, the project held its first open day on August 31 at Coleg Sir Gâr’s agricultural campus in Gelli Aur where the processing unit has been installed using the expertise of Power & Water, which specialises in sono-electrochemical water treatment. If successful, the system will be a world’s first in agriculture.

Project staff are resolute that the system should be suitable for every farm, regardless of size. “If this process isn’t suitable for all farmers, it won’t make a difference to water quality,” said project manager John Owen. “Technology hasn’t really moved forward within the industry to manage the amount of slurry we’re producing and although this technology has always existed, it has never been applied to the agricultural industry until now.”

The event, which was co-hosted by Farming Connect, attracted around 300 delegates consisting of farmers and industry representatives who were given insights into the science, analysis and effects of nutrient management.

Industry experts gave presentations about slurry storage and management, Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales explained their role in the process including how contaminated water affects the environment and their ability to protect public health and wildlife.

Project manager John Owen added: “This project will continually undergo independent analysis by Natural Resources Wales and processed water will comply to licence regulations for discharge consent, based on low continual volumes rather than a batch treatment approach and emissions will be monitored to process the system’s current output which is around 3,000 litres of slurry per hour.”

The system uses Soneco® (sono-electrochemistry) to break down contaminants and nutrients, then separates them from the water. The remaining water is treated using the Soneco® advanced oxidation process to reduce any remaining ammonia, which is broken down to nitrogen and hydrogen. 

The processing unit reduces water content of the nutrients by 80% but increases the nutrient concentration, resulting in the requirement of a new nutrient management plan.  The equipment will be categorised by herd size, ensuring a cost effective and robust solution to any size farm.

Gareth Morgan, Power and Water CEO said: “We are pleased with the outcomes achieved to date and will continue our joint efforts to ensure that that the treated water from the slurry is of good quality for re-use or discharge, and that the nutrient value of the solids is retained or improved for a variety of re-use applications.”

Further work could be carried out on improved biosecurity, destruction of pathogens and possibly weed seeds.

Prosiectslyri 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

Open Day Photos





Graduate’s successful fashion career

FORMER Coleg Sir Gâr fashion graduate Justine Allen is currently working at Primark’s head office as a buying and merchandising training manager where she is supporting the integration of new system software.

Following graduation, Justine gained employment with Peacocks in Cardiff, here she tells us how her career has developed. 

I am currently working on the Primark/Oracle project at our head office to support the integration of new systems software into the business. 

My role in the project is to write the training material, which will be delivered to the buying and merchandising community once the new systems go live. 

After five years of working in buying, life on the project is very different but I am really enjoying seeing a completely different side to the business and working on one of the biggest Oracle systems projects in Europe. 

I split my time between our head offices in Reading and Dublin as we have different teams from the project in both places so lots of travel at times but it’s great being able to network with so many people.

What did you do following graduation?

My first job was at Peacocks head office in Cardiff where I was an assistant buyer on ladies clothing and I spent a year learning the ins and outs of the buying role. 

I applied for an assistant buyer job for children’s wear at Primark and got the job. I moved to Reading and I’ve been there for the last four and half years. 

I absolutely loved being in such a creative role and being so involved with the product you see in store. I worked my way up in Primark over the next few years and finally ended up on the ladies denim buying team. 

At this time a vacancy came up on the Oracle project so I applied as I think it is really important to understand other aspects of the business and as this project is so high profile I wanted to get involved. 

You never know what doors will open if you are open to new experiences and I have found already that I have developed skills and knowledge I didn’t have a year ago.

What advice would you give others starting out or studying?

I really felt that I had the tools I needed for employment after my degree at Carmarthen School or Art as the course was so varied, I gained lots of different skills that I have been able to apply to my jobs in fashion. 

My main piece of advice would be not to give up or get disheartened if you don’t succeed at securing jobs at first. I applied for so many buying jobs when I graduated and either had no response or an email saying I wasn’t what they were looking for. It is tough being knocked back but when I finally got an interview for the assistant buyer role at Peacocks I knew I had to give everything I had. 

My feedback after the interview was that my positivity about the role really shone through so it’s really important to have that attitude when you work in the fashion industry. 

Try to gain work experience if you can as it does put you in a better place when it comes to interviews and will give you an idea of whether the role you are doing in work experience is really for you. 

I have met a lot of students who want to work in buying but decided that it’s not right for them after a few weeks; likewise I have met lots of students who came to Primark for a placement and are now employed there in buying roles after graduation. 







Calling budding GCSE and A-level artists

Criw Celf is an Arts Council of Wales project run by Coleg Sir Gâr’s School of Art in Carmarthen.

The project brings together students with a particular talent in the visual arts who are currently studying GCSE and A-level art. 

Portfolio – This strand of the project is aimed at GCSE students (year 10 and 11).

Raising the Bar – This strand of the project is aimed at A-level students (years 12 and 13). 

Both projects invite students to masterclasses led by professional artists and designers who offer a wider investigation into visual arts practice and the future possibilities of creative and academic training.  An educational visit is also included and students exhibit their work in an end of year public exhibition.

Masterclasses are held at Coleg Sir Gâr’s School of Art, Job’s Well Road, Carmarthen. 

This is a national project coordinated in various regions across Wales.

Applicants are asked to submit a minimum of one piece of art, design or craftwork and complete the application form.  Photographs are accepted electronically at 200-300dpi/A5.


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



New principal appointed

A new principal and chief executive officer of Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigon has been appointed by a board of directors, following the announcement of current principal Barry Liles’ retirement in August.

As the current deputy principal for both Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion, Dr Andrew Cornish is preparing to take the helm at both colleges, bringing a familiar face to staff and students when he officially takes over the role this September.

Dr Cornish began his education at Maesteg Comprehensive School where he studied A-levels before progressing to study an honours degree in physics at University of Liverpool and then a PhD in physics at Cardiff University. He is a member of the Institute of Physics (CPhys MinstP) and has worked as a peer assessor for Estyn for nearly 20 years, assessing the standards of other further education colleges in Wales. He is also the former chair of the pan Wales curriculum and standards group for further education.

Following his doctorate he began working at Coleg Sir Gâr as a physics lecturer, and subsequently has undertaken various managerial and leadership roles including faculty manager for A-levels, access and sport and later as assistant principal, with the responsibility of teaching, learning and quality across the college. He is also the driving force behind significant new projects at the college’s Graig campus, including the development of the atrium, the 3G pitch and the performance and innovation centre, which is set to open in September. Over the last year, his focus has been on creating a new curriculum at Coleg Ceredigion, ensuring that the integration of the two colleges continues to progress smoothly.

Dr Andrew Cornish’s aim is to achieve a highly skilled, confident, sustainable workforce for Wales, creating ambitious and capable learners equipped with the employability skills and academic abilities to achieve in high quality jobs. “Developing a curriculum that aligns itself to the needs of employers is a vital and crucial part of our work,” he said. “We will continue to develop our strong links with employers, schools in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, to build upon the already established dual sector university partnership.”

As a committed learner of the Welsh language, Dr Cornish is very passionate about opportunities for Welsh medium learning, shared by his two sons who are currently studying at university primarily through the medium of Welsh, along with his family who are all Welsh speakers. “Mae’r iaith Gymraeg yn bwsig iawn yn Sir Gâr ac yng Ngheredigion hefyd, I think that being able to speak Welsh offers additional employability opportunities,” he said. “Ultimately, that is what we’re preparing our students for as well as ensuring they progress in their learning, including into university education.”

With nearly 25 years experience in education, Dr Cornish has a profound understanding of the real challenges that lie ahead in the sector. His ethos ‘an education for all’ and his passion to improve teaching and learning as core business values, stands him in good stead to lead two substantial organisations confidently into the future.

Dr Andrew Cornish added: “I am very privileged and proud to be the next principal of Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion and I will work tirelessly to ensure the college provides an excellent experience for all our learners and partners.”

Agricultural student to benefit from Gwili Jones bursary


An agricultural engineering student from Carmarthen has won the Coleg Sir Gâr Gwili Jones Educational Bursary.

Grace Elizabeth Marshall, 19, was presented with the award - which supports students entering the agricultural engineering industry with prestigious work placements - at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.

As a result, she will spend a week with Krone UK in Yorkshire, a world-leader in product innovation in the hay and forage industry. 

Sian Davies of Gwili Jones said: “We have an ongoing collaborative relationship with Krone UK and we share our commitment to the agricultural industry. We are delighted to be supporting Grace through a work placement which I’m sure will be of significant benefit to her.”

Grace, the daughter of a dairy farmer who since leaving school, has studied at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur campus, qualified with a level three diploma in agriculture. With a developing interest in machinery and engineering, she returned to study a level three diploma in land-based technology.

The Gwili Jones bursary is available to land-based students at Coleg Sir Gâr along with an additional Product Development Award, which helps students develop and present innovations designed to benefit the industry. 




Society awards for agriculture students

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society presented two Coleg Sir Gâr students with awards at this year’s Pembrokeshire Show.

Rhys Jenkins, who lives in Jeffreyston, won the full-time agricultural student of the year award for his extended diploma studies.  

He owns a flock of pedigree ewes which he regularly shows as well as working as a Shepard at Windsor Farm, for the Phillips family. He is hoping to progress to a higher apprenticeship or a part-time foundation degree.

Joe Doyle, who started his agricultural training at 16, won the part-time student of the year award. 

Employed by Southern Pitts Dairy Ltd, Joe is responsible for a herd of 400 cows and has recently progressed to a higher level four apprenticeship.

Jan Mathias, Coleg Sir Gâr training advisor for work-based learning in agriculture, said: “The college is grateful for the society’s continued support of its students.

“These prestigious awards recognise and raise awareness of the importance of young people coming through the sector, creating rising stars in the agricultural industry.”


(Left) Agricultural apprentice Joe Doyle receives Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s Coleg Sir Gâr Student of the Year award for part-time study.

(Right) Agricultural student Rhys Jenkins is presented with Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s Coleg Sir Gâr Student of the Year award for full-time study.


International series for academy players


Coleg Sir Gâr students are currently (August 2018) touring with the Scarlets U18s squad following selection in the team’s International Series in South Africa.

College rugby academy players Cameron Lewis (Coleg Sir Gâr/Ospreys), Jac Morgan (Coleg Sir Gâr/Scarlets) and Jac Price (Coleg Sir Gâr/Scarlets) will play in the forwards and Harri Doel (Coleg Sir Gâr/Scarlets), Osian Knott (Coleg Sir Gâr/Scarlets) and Joe Roberts (Coleg Sir Gâr/Scarlets) will play in the backs. 

The group of 27 players are competing in fixtures against South Africa schools, England and France in three different locations across the Western Cape. 


A-Level results show continued high standards

Students at Coleg Sir Gâr are once again celebrating, achieving an excellent set of A-level results. The percentage of A* - E grades was again extremely high at 99%, with 25 out of 28 subjects posting a 100% pass rate.

In addition, subjects in science and mathematics achieved a high percentage of students obtaining the highest A* grade; A-level biology (13%), chemistry (17%), physics (8%), mathematics (10%) and further mathematics (25%).

Also obtaining a high proportion of A* grade are geography (17%), government and politics (17%), drama and theatre studies (50%) and Welsh (second language) (13%), highlighting the hard work and dedication of both learners and staff across the A-level programme.

Head of A-levels and Access, Mrs Orla Williams, 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.”

Andrew Jennings, a former Coedcae Comprehensive School pupil obtained an A* in physics, mathematics and further mathematics and an A grade in chemistry. Andrew will be studying chemical engineering at University of Bath.

Joseph Toft (pictured), a former St John Lloyd pupil and a member of the Coleg Sir Gâr board of directors, obtained three A* grades in government and politics, history and French and an A grade in English literature. Joseph is going to study law.

Nathan Bowen, a former Byngwyn pupil obtained three A* grades in geography, biology and chemistry and will progress to study dentistry at Cardiff University.

Katie Pritchard, a former Glan Y Mor pupil obtained an A* grade in geography and A grades in history, religious education and psychology. Katie will be going to study geography at University of Lancaster.

Welsh Under 18s rugby international Harri Doel, formerly of Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, obtained an A* grade in mathematics and A grades in biology and physical education. Harri will be studying mathematics at Swansea University. 

Dr Andrew Cornish, newly appointed principal at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion said: “It is great to see our students performing consistently well and to a high standard.  

“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.” 

Joseph Toft pictured with his sister collecting his A-level results

Link to all results day photos 



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