Welcome to the News section for The College Ystrad Mynach.

To stay informed of latest development, subscribe using the subscription tools on the right hand side.

Learners rewarded for their achievements

Prize Giving 2013

Learners from the Ystrad Mynach campus of Coleg y Cymoedd, were recently rewarded for their achievements at an awards presentation evening held in Caerphilly Castle.

The awards event celebrated the last cohort of The College Ystrad Mynach learners.  In August 2013, The College Ystrad Mynach merged with Coleg Morgannwg to form Coleg y Cymoedd.

Over 50 learners from the academic year 2012/2013 were honoured for their hard work over the last 12 months.

Learners were presented with awards in a number of different areas including care, sport, hairdressing, construction and A Levels.

The awards were presented by Dr John Graystone, Chief Executive of Colegau Cymru/Colleges Wales, the national organisation representing Further Education Colleges in Wales.

Judith Evans, Principal said “Tonight is one of my favourite events in the academic calendar when we celebrate the achievements of our students and also recognise the support given by family and friends – I wish all the learners presented with awards, success for the future”.

Catering at the ceremony was provided by Catering Learners studying at the Ystrad Mynach campus. 

Performing Arts learners studying at the Rhondda Campus provided entertainment during the ceremony with a performance comprising of dance and singing.

The event was closed by Caerphilly Male Voice Choir.

Posted by Marketing at 13:55

Rhymney student beats cancer and scoops college award

Prize Giving 2012

A young Rhymney student who overcame cancer has gone on to win a prestigious learning award.  

Craig Bannan, aged 20, won the IT Practitioners Award at an awards ceremony held in Caerphilly Castle that celebrated the achievements of over 50 students of The College Ystrad Mynach. 

Craig was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2009. His illness forced him to leave college, having enrolled on the BTEC Level 3 National course in IT, to receive treatment and concentrate on his recovery.

After seemingly overcoming cancer, he re-enrolled at The College Ystrad Mynach a year later.

Having starting his course at the second attempt Craig unfortunately suffered a relapse. However, he decided that he was not going to drop out and was determined to complete the course while receiving treatment.

During the year, Craig underwent an intensive course of treatment and rehabilitation, including two operations and chemotherapy.


(Craig, pictured above, receiving his award from guest speaker at the event, Victoria Winckler, Bevan Foundation)

Despite enduring such gruelling medical treatment, the 20 year-old logged into the college’s online system every day to check for any work to be completed and any outstanding deadlines.

Happily, Craig is now in remission and completed his course without requesting any extensions or revised deadlines.

Craig was nominated for the IT Practitioners Award by his course tutor, Sharon Young, who was impressed with his attitude and contribution to the course. The award celebrates those who have achieved excellence on the course, which specialises in computer programming, maintenance and networking and business administration.

He is now studying for an accountancy qualification and plans to go to university to study chartered accountancy.

Craig said:

“The second time I was diagnosed I thought to myself ‘I’ve got to do this course or it’s my life over. I can’t let this get in the way again.’ I stayed on the course and worked from home. Having the work to do gave me the incentive to battle through my problems and to succeed.

“It was tough working through the time of having treatment but the teachers always supported me with my workload.

“I logged into our college system any time I felt well to check if there was any work to do or deadlines. The tutors always let me know if there were any problems and my girlfriend and family have been a great support.”

Bryn Davies, Principal of The College Ystrad Mynach, said:

“Craig is an inspiration to us all and is a testament to those battling with adversity. The strength it must have taken to beat cancer, whilst also continuing his studies, is astonishing.

“We also pride ourselves in our teaching staff and the teachers are always here to support every student in every way they can, which is clearly the case here, as we did everything we could to support Craig with his course and also his overall wellbeing.”

Posted by Marketing at 13:08

College students and staff rewarded for hard work at annual prize-giving

THE College Rhymney held its annual prize-giving ceremony to honour the hard work of its students and staff.

Guests gathered at the Oasis Christian Centre in Blackwood where awards were presented by the Mayor of Caerphilly Gaynor Oliver in a host of categories, rewarding winners for their achievements over the last 12 months.

Jenny Clements, 36, a married mum-of-two, from Argoed, won the College’s Overcoming Adversity Award for her determination in her studies after being diagnosed with dyslexia.

Before enrolling at the main campus in Rhymney last year, Jenny was part of The College @ Large scheme where she studied at the Tab Life Centre in Pontllanfraith. It was there that her tutor suspected she may be dyslexic.

“I knew there was something not right. I struggled really badly at school. I went to college in the community before going to the main college and the tutor suspected I might be dyslexic,” said the former Blackwood Comprehensive School pupil, who is married to Carle.

She added: “They asked if I wanted to do a test for dyslexia which confirmed it. I also have Irlen Syndrome which is linked to the dyslexia. I can’t see things like other people can.”

But it didn’t put Jenny off from continuing her studies. In fact, it had the opposite effect.

After working as a sewing machinist at the now-closed Gossard’s factory in Pontllanfraith, and with her children growing up, Jenny decided she wanted to work again so went back to the classroom to gain some qualifications.

“It was a weight off my shoulders to be honest when the dyslexia was confirmed.  And I was then even more eager to go to college,” said Jenny, who is mum to Luke, 15, and eight-year-old Grace.

Jenny, who also volunteers as an assistant at her daughter’s school, Markham Primary, is now in the second year of studying a business and finance course at Rhymney.

And she said the college and her tutors had made sure her dyslexia was no barrier to her succeeding in her studies.

“With the condition, different colours suit different people and they found out my colour was yellow so my computer is yellow and all my work is done on yellow paper and it helps so much. My spelling and punctuation is now so much better.

“The tutors are wonderful. I really love going to college and I always look forward to it,” said Jenny, who hopes to work in an office or as a teacher’s assistant when she completes her studies.

Canteen cook Sarah Deacon, 41, from Trethomas, won the Business Support Recognition Award after being nominated by the Rhymney Learner Council, a body made up of students on the campus.

In fact, the students were so keen to see Sarah rewarded that they asked the college to introduce the award so they could nominate the popular cook.

Sarah started work in the canteen on the Rhymney campus last October and as the only member of staff there, does everything from coming up with the menus, preparing, cooking and serving the food, taking the money and doing the washing up.

She serves dozens of students and staff each day with a choice of hot meals, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, burgers, vegetarian and healthy options and fresh fruit.

Rhymney Prize Giving 1  Rhymney Prize Giving 2

(Jenny Clement pictured left and Sarah Deacon pictured right receiving their awards from the Mayor of Caerphilly Council)

Cooking has always been a huge passion for Sarah, who, after leaving school, studied at catering college. She has been in the hospitality trade all her working life, managing a hotel, restaurant, pub and nightclub.

“I was highly honoured to be nominated. I really enjoy working here and I love what I do. It’s great to speak to the students and talk about the food and healthy eating,” said Sarah, who is married to fellow chef Ashley, who works at the Crossways pub in Caerphilly.

The culinary couple have a five-year-old son Connor, who was with Sarah as she picked up her award at the ceremony in Blackwood.

Guests were welcomed by Carolyn Donegan, Head of The College Rhymney, who introduced Deputy Principal Paul Martin and guest speaker Annette Roche, the community-based Learning Development Officer for The University of Wales, Newport.

Paying tribute to all the winners, Mrs Donegan said: “The college and the community work with 1,500 learners a year with the UHOVI (Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute) project enabling us to provide education opportunities from entry to degree level. It was wonderful to be able to see some of those 1,500 learners receive recognition for their outstanding achievements over the last year.

“As well as our students, I am delighted that members of staff were also honoured for the work they do in and around the campus. It is their hard work, professionalism and skill that helps make The College Rhymney such a wonderful place to study and work.”

During the evening, Olympic torch bearer Chloe Lewis, 21, who is studying the UHOVI Foundation Degree in Community Sports with The College Rhymney, spoke about her experience carrying the flame through her home town of Merthyr Tydfil.

Learners from Rhymney Comprehensive School provided the music for the ceremony.

Rhymney Prize Giving 3

(Hairdressing Level 2 Class students Amy Eynon, Peyton Davis, Holie Pearce and Samantha Preece are presented with their Advocate of the Year awards by Mayor Gaynor Oliver. Also pictured is Deputy Principal Paul Martin)


Award winners were:

Outstanding Academic Achievement -Rhymney, Peyton Davis; Community, Carol Beddis.

Greatest Academic Progress -Community, Jennifer Jordan; Rhymney, William Morris.

Greatest Academic Progress -City & Guilds -Motor Vehicle Level 2 class.

Academic Progress ­-Rhymney, Hairdressing Level 1 class.

Best Role Model -Rhymney, Phoebe Edwards; Community, Eileen Moss.

Best Attendance - Rhymney, Jack Ashton; Community, Oakdale Class; Community, Robert Quelch;  Rhymney, William Morris; Basic Skills, Phillip Thompson.

Highly Recommended Attendance -Rhymney, Jake Harding.

Outstanding Quality of Work -Rhymney, Pottery class; Community, Sandra Brewer.

Overcoming Adversity -Community, John Jones; Rhymney, Jenny Clements.

Artistic Endeavour -Rhymney, Proteus Group.

Learning Advocate of the Year - VTCT -Hairdressing Level 2 class.

Learning Advocate of the Year -Community, Clive Hollyfield.

Learner of the Year Rhymney -Shane Cox.

Learner of the Year Community -Robert Quelch.

Learner of the Year School Links -David Connor.

ESOL Learner of the Year -Bupha Harley.

@Centre Learners of the Year -William Lewis, Abervalley; Melissa Christopher, Bargoed; Portia Hampton, Blackwood.

Learner of the Year Active Pathways - VTCT -Hannah Osborne.

Enterprise Champion -Rhymney, Motor Vehicle Level 1 class.

Wendy Harcombe Award -Rhymney, Gareth Roberts.

Rhymney Learner Council - Tutor Recognition Award -Kelly Smith.

Rhymney Learner Council - Business Support Recognition Award - Sarah Deacon.

Posted by Marketing at 09:21

Achievement rewarded at The College Ystrad Mynach Annual Awards"

Anna Prize Giving.jpgLearners have been rewarded for their achievements in the college classroom.

The College Ystrad Mynach held its annual awards presentation evening at Caerphilly Castle where 60 learners were honoured for their hard work over the last 12 months.

Students were presented with awards in a number of different areas including care, technology, carpentry, plumbing, sport and hairdressing.

Anna Gordine, 22 from Bedwas, won the College Basic Skills Award. Anna had been in a special needs class in school, with little opportunity for academic work. Both Anna and her family fought for her to participate in mainstream secondary education and she was finally allowed to take three GCSEs, but not English or Mathematics.

After leaving school, Anna set out to gain the qualifications and learning experience she felt she had been denied, attending a basic skills class in 2008 to enable her access a Child Care course at The College Ystrad Mynach.

She was accepted onto the course and enjoyed a rewarding year, passing all of her exams.

Her tutor Tina Huish said: “Anna is an inspiration. By looking to the future and taking control of her life she has been able to progress in her career, gain independence and has also been able to benefit from the joy of learning.”

Anna is currently studying towards her Level 3 Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning & Development  and also continues to study basic skills at the college.

Anna, whose parents Kerry and Douglas were there to cheer her on at the ceremony, said: “I really didn’t think I had won. I was really, really chuffed though and it’s nice that my hard work has been recognised.”

She works part time at the nursery at Ty’n-Y-Wern Primary School in Trethomas where she is able to put her child care skills to great use. She also has a Saturday job at John Lewis in Cardiff.Anna, who has a twin brother Christian and an older sister Natalie, hopes to become a teaching assistant when she completes her studies.

Conna Johnson, 19, from Trethomas, was presented with the CACHE Level 2 Full Time Care Award. He was the only male in a group of 19.

His tutor Angela Jones said: “Conna has consistently achieved a high standard in placement and course work and always gives his all to his work. A day never passed without Conna making people feel good with his continuous smiling face.”

The awards were presented by Jeff Cuthbert, AM for Caerphilly, who was also governor of the college until May this year.As the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills, he is responsible for identifying the skills needs of employers, learners and learning providers across Wales.

Mr Cuthbert told the students and their proud families and friends:  “All of you here are shining examples of where combined action has achieved a common goal. We have scores of awards being celebrated and every one is very well deserved.“Only by working together will we do our best to tackle the Welsh economy’s short-term challenges head-on, but also plan for the current recovery and the future by building our long-term skills base. All of the learners here tonight will be at the heart of that journey.”

College Principal Bryn Davies said the last year had been a very busy and very successful one for the college, with students and staff working tremendously hard to achieve their goals.And he said how hugely proud he was of the award winners.

“Congratulations to you all. Each and every one of you should be proud of yourselves, for everything you have achieved over the last year,” he added.

Catering at the ceremony on Tuesday, October 18, was provided by the College’s school of catering and hospitality and the evening ended with a performance by Caerphilly Male Voice Choir.Prize sponsors included Caerphilly Rotary Club, Amazing Glazing, Beauty Express, BIIAB, Caerphilly Social Club, CR, Dry Wall Systems, Howells Coaches, Keith’s Fruit and Veg, Latham Properties, Mainline Travel, Morgan Cole, OCR, Rabart Decorators Merchants, Cottage Loaf Bakery, Thomas Morgan and Associates, UWIC and USL Audio Visual.

Posted by Marketing at 10:36