College News

International Recognised Academic Integrity Award

Karen Sheldrake, a social care studies graduate from Coleg Sir Gâr has won an internationally recognised award for academic integrity.

The Turnitin Global Innovation Awards recognise people and institutions worldwide and Karen, who is from St Clears in Carmarthen, received a special commendation in the Learning with Integrity Award category for the UK and Ireland. She shares her success amongst other regional winners from as far as Asia, Europe and Latin America. 

When Karen Sheldrake started her BA programme at the college’s Ammanford campus, she was diagnosed with cancer early on in her studies.

Overcoming challenges in her personal life and her health and with a three-year degree ahead of her, she took the decision to continue her studies.  With the supportive help of her tutors, Karen used a system called Turnitin - a global submission platform for assessment, which allowed her to access assignments and information whilst receiving treatment in and out of hospital to meet deadlines without having to be present at college.  “Turnitin allowed me to study regardless of location,” said Karen. “Accessing notes from tutors and also the ability to send a draft when I was unable to physically be in class resulted in me obtaining distinctions throughout my BA.”

Coleg Sir Gâr highlights to all its students the importance of academic study skills and provides supporting materials on issues such as the severity of plagiarism, all of which are highly supported by a teaching and support team. Turnitin’s website quoted: “As an institution, Coleg Sir Gâr not only values academic integrity but the holistic education journey and wellbeing of its students overall”.

Karen Sheldrake has progressed to a PGCE teaching qualification within the college with future aspirations to support students with additional needs through higher education study. She added: “This award should be used as a symbol of hope for others that are in my position.”

Karen James, lecturer in social care studies at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Undertaking a degree takes commitment and is an educational and academic journey in itself, but the strength and determination that Karen has shown has been awe-inspiring and as a team, we wanted to support her all the way with personal and technical support.”


Students’ WW1 tribute to Llansteffan soldiers

A four-year project has culminated in a permanent WW1 display at Llansteffan Memorial Hall through a partnership between Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art and Royal British Legion. 

Since 2014, degree students on the college’s digital graphics and digital illustration programmes have been working on designs to commemorate 19 soldiers from Llansteffan, who died in the war. 

As well as a commemorative design, each soldier also received an individual remembrance ceremony.

This year, on the centenary of WW1, the final soldier and design was unveiled, which commemorates gunner William Howells who served with the Royal Artillery. 

Jamie Osborne created the design which will join the other student creations as a permanent display in the hall.

Karl Sedgwick, head of BA digital graphics at Carmarthen School of Art said: “Students have done an excellent job of visually expressing the individual stories of each of the 19 soldiers and being involved in such an important and successful project has been a real privilege.” 


Jamie Osborne’s design to commemorate Llansteffan soldier, gunner William Howells, who gave his life in the battle of WW1


The permanent display at Llansteffan Memorial Hall created by graphics and illustration degree students at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Carmarthen School of Art to commemorate 19 soldiers from Llansteffan who died in WW1.


A-level students launch into precision medicine

A-level students at Coleg Sir Gâr are continuing their involvement in the national scholar scheme The Brilliant Club, which was launched at Oxford University this year.

The Brilliant Club is an educational charity that aims to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities by mobilising the PhD community to share its expertise. 

Learners take part in a series of tutorials which are graded at university level and culminate with an end of year graduation event which is held at a Russell Group university.

Julia Clement, assistant curriculum head for A-levels and Access, said: “Being part of The Brilliant Club is an incredibly enriching and challenging experience for our students.

“They’re currently learning precision medicine with a PhD tutor from Swansea University who comes into college and cover learning areas such as antibody-drug conjugates and translating DNA codons into amino acids.”


Good luck to our WorldSkills Live competitors

Carmarthenshire students will soon be competing in a UK-wide competition, representing Coleg Sir Gâr at WorldSkills UK Live in Birmingham.

The competition is the nation’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event held annually at the NEC and is it formerly known as The Skills Show.

Last year, Coleg Sir Gâr engineering student Adam Bedner from Llanelli, employed by Gestamp, won gold in the industrial control category and inclusive skills student Joshua Kerr, from Ammanford, won gold in the level three basic woodworking category.

The college also won three silver and three bronze medals thanks to the skills of Debbie Dorrit who won silver in health and life sciences, Iestyn Vaughan who won silver in carpentry and Caitlin Evans won silver in hairdressing. Winning bronze medals in hairdressing were Phoebe McLavy and Danielle Williams and Alisha Conde won bronze in Health and Life Sciences.

The Skills Show is the UK final of all regional skills competitions held previously across the country.  It attracts around 72,000 visitors and the support of over 200 national and local employers and training organisations.  It brings together apprentices and young people from across the UK to compete to be the best in their chosen skill - first in regional then national competitions and then aspiring to become part of Team UK in international skills competitions.

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

WorldSkills UK Live takes place at Birmingham NEC between 15 and 17 November.


Coleg Sir Gâr 2018 Competitors



Top actor joins creative industries team

COLEG Sir Gâr has welcomed a seasoned British actor with an impressive repertoire for TV and stage work to its creative industries team. 

From treading the boards on Broadway to the red carpet on Leicester Square, Simon Thomas, known in the acting business as Simon Nehan, is looking forward to his future teaching role following recent filming on Netflix’s The Crown. 

His career has taken him as far as Madrid, Budapest, Paris and New York and as a former Coedcae pupil armed with years of experience, Simon is keen to inspire local students sharing his experiences of working with actors such as Zac Effron, Eddie Marsan and Oscar-winning Eddie Redmayne. 

Simon’s many acting roles have included Merlin and Made in Dagenham but the role he is most proud of is in the BBC’s adaptation of Birdsong, a two-part British TV drama based on Sebastian Faulks’s war novel.  “Watching good actors at work is always a great learning curve,” said Simon. “It was a big production by the BBC with great writing, great performers and a great production team, plus it involved 10 weeks of filming in Budapest.”

Comparing theatre work to television, some roles are more demanding than others and Simon says that stage work is the most demanding. “I was offered a part in Sarah Kane’s Blasted which was a highly controversial and graphic play which in its first production, drew fierce criticism from the press as well as theatre protests,” he said. “It uses themes of ethnic cleansing, torture, rape and genocide based on the 1990s Bosnian war, so to recreate scenes like this was mentally challenging.”

Simon’s other work includes Casualty, Holby City and even a panto with Katie Price and he says he’s been lucky finding work but not all auditions are set in stone. “You need to be driven and realise that not every audition will go your way,” he said. “There is an element of luck involved but you need to work at it and you need to be on time; you can lose a part because your eyes aren’t the right colour but don’t lose the part because someone has done more work than you on the script.”

Always drawn to the idea of teaching, Simon feels he has the experience to share with a new generation of aspiring performers and can relate to students as he also studied a BTEC diploma before attending Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. “Acting is a craft,” he added. “Getting students to ask the right questions before approaching a role and encouraging them to take risks and express themselves is vital. I tell the students I’m one of them, I’m from Llanelli, I’m a steelworker's son and if I can do it, so can they.”


Pic: Simon Nehan (left) as Rev Eli Jenkins in Under Milk Wood at The House, Birmingham Rep (photo credit: The Reviews Hub)





Public services win UK RAF competition

Public services students at Coleg Sir Gâr have won the RAF Recruiting Challenge, beating nine other establishments including four military colleges.

The event was held at RAF Wittering and around 100 students from across the UK took part in a series of physical and mental challenges designed for those studying defence and public services.

The competition, devised by Squadron Leader Tamzin Keenlyside, included a warm-up with Wittering’s physical education instructors, a one and a half mile run and a fitness and drill test before learning about professions within the Royal Air Force and learning about military aviation.

Royal Air Force Wittering is home to the RAF A4 Force, the deployable engineering and logistics squadrons which support UK air operations across the world. The students met trainee pilots from 16 Squadron, drivers from 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron and technicians from 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron.

RAF Police dogs, drill training, a presentation on an RAF trade, a turn on the digital shooting range and an RAF knowledge test made up the rest of the day.

Glyn Price, Coleg Sir Gâr public services lecturer said: “I was delighted when it was announced that our team had won, it’s absolutely amazing and I couldn’t be any prouder of the guys, watching them grow and bond as a team has been fantastic.”

Group Captain William Dole is the in charge of RAF Recruiting & Selection. He added: “Competition through sport is a fundamental component of life in the RAF and teamwork is the very platform on which we operate and achieve. These qualities have been evident in every activity and event today and the teams have achieved an excellent level of accomplishment.”

Public services students from Coleg Sir Gâr with the winning RAF Recruitment Challenge Cup at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire (and second pic at Coleg Sir Gâr) and (top pic) standing to attention are all the schools and colleges who took part in the event.


Agricultural apprenticeships on the rise

Coleg Sir Gâr’s agricultural work-based learning team is busy signing up new apprentices in partnership with Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd.

There are 11 apprentices working towards a diploma foundation apprenticeship in agriculture and where normally an apprenticeship programme requires one day a week at college, this programme allows tutors to teach a range of poultry specific qualifications onsite at the workplace.

With support from the company, all 11 participants are hoping to progress to a level three apprenticeship. 

At Escalwen Farm, with the Prichard family, another four apprentices are employed whilst attending college one day a week.  The college hopes to use their conference facilities to use as a satellite teaching centre.

Both Escalwen and Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd are currently looking to take on more apprentices. 

Sarah Bennett, training advisor for agriculture at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “Apprenticeship learners have to be 16 years-old or older and there is no upper age limit. 

“There is also employer incentive funding available to employers providing they hit specific criteria.

“We can take on learners throughout the year and every apprenticeship is individual to each learner.”

To find out more contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07557316096.



Building energy efficiency links with Denmark

A built environment lecturer at Coleg Sir Gâr has taken part in a two-day seminar in Denmark with 21 Welsh representatives to learn about recent developments in energy efficient buildings.

The visit was organised by CollegesWales and funded by Sector Priority Programme which supported senior construction managers and lecturers from further education colleges to learn more about Project Zero.

The project is an innovative approach to creating and maintaining suitable buildings with a real emphasis on retrofitting of older buildings – a key area for development in Wales.

Wayne Savory, assistant curriculum head based at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Ammanford campus visited Sonderborg to look at its ambition and strategies to create a world-class low energy consumption and sustainable district which has already achieved a 50% reduction in CO2 since it’s 2007 onset. “One of the most striking initiatives is the way the municipality are creating economic growth based on CO2 neutral development,” he said. “Sonderborg is a leading example of business and sustainability working together.”

Around half of Sonderborg municipal buildings have undergone energy optimisation with improvements made to the building envelope and the introduction of low energy heating, lighting and ventilation solutions as well as an extensive installation of solar PV to existing buildings. 

Wayne Savory added: “A lot can be learned from the Danish approach to tackling climate change, which works in partnership with stakeholders from the education, public and business sectors of the region and by being innovative in providing economically sustainable solutions to zero carbon development.”


Bronze awards for Entry Level adventurers

Entry Level students at Coleg Sir Gâr have achieved their Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Bronze Awards.

The programme, which supports those with additional learning needs at the college’s Ammanford campus, is celebrating success with 10 students completing this year.

Kyle Harries was the recipient of the college’s annual Young Achiever Shield for his commitment and dedication to the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

Matthew Jones, entry level lecturer and Duke of Edinburgh coordinator said: “We try and promote the DoE scheme to all of our students as it gives them confidence and skills they can take forward in further studies, employment and life.  

“They come out of it achieving things they never thought they could.”


Joseph’s London theatre call

A performing arts student at Coleg Sir Gâr is one of only 12 men to be handpicked from across the UK to perform with an award-winning London theatre company.

Joseph Wendrich from Llanelli will be working with sector-leading company, Frantic Assembly, which runs a national training programme called Ignition for young male performers. 

Their aim is to bring together a dynamic group from across the UK to work together for a week to create innovative physical theatre. 

Joseph will be performing at three UK locations including Stratford Circus and the Imperial War Museum at the end of October. 

Frantic Assembly is a regular visitor to Coleg Sir Gâr where students experience taster sessions and workshops.

From these regional events run UK-wide, the company handpicks students to audition for Ignition, which Joseph successfully did in Swansea after being approached by the company.

“I’m really excited,” said Joseph. “I will be auditioning for drama schools in the new year and so this is a really amazing opportunity for me as I really want to study in London and it will give me first-hand experience working with a London-based theatre company.  

Sara Kelly, lecturer at Coleg Sir Gâr said: “We are all very proud of Joe. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Home-schooled Joseph Wendrich, who also won a college achievement of excellence award this year, added: “The performing arts diploma provides you with opportunities such as working with these companies and the teaching staff are all amazing and supportive, it’s just up to you to take up opportunities offered to you.”






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