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Wales' colleges develop skills in China

Nine vocational students from three of Wales’ colleges are on a trip of a lifetime in Chongqing, China, swapping skills knowledge and glimpsing new horizons in the world’s fastest growing city.

The students, who are studying at Ystrad Mynach College, Coleg Morgannwg and Yale College Wrexham, are being hosted by City Management College in Chongqing for the next two weeks (17 Nov – 1 Dec).  They will be participating in skills and cultural workshops relevant to their studies, which span a wide range of vocational areas, including: health & social care, sports science, engineering, information technology, and art & design.

Setting the scene at the grand welcome ceremony this morning, the Welsh group was treated to a special address by Li Shyiu, International Director at Chongqing Education Commission. Her participation demonstrates that this visit, organised by CollegesWales (UK) International, is considered significant and strategic at governmental level in Chongqing.

The five staff members who are accompanying the students have a busy programme of relationship-building activities to manage.  Hospitality and catering links are the key focus of the Coleg Powys representative, whilst the representatives from Ystrad Mynach College, Coleg Morgannwg and Yale College Wrexham have a wide remit to cover between them, including: health and social care, business, sport, travel and tourism, hair and beauty, and public services.

Hands-on teaching will add a particularly interesting dimension to the experience of the Welsh staff.  Al Koursaros, senior lecturer in management and business at Ystrad Mynach College and who is also the CollegesWales (UK) International’s Group Leader for the duration of the visit, will be teaching Chinese students at City Management College. 

Sian Holleran, International Coordinator at CollegesWales (UK) International, said: “CollegesWales (UK) International is keen to ensure that vocational learners from Wales have opportunities to broaden their horizons and consider their place in the global economy.  I am delighted that the Wales-Chongqing Further Education Consortium has been able to secure this skills-based experience for Welsh learners as well as to facilitate strategic level discussions with counterparts in Chongqing.

“That the group from Wales has been feted by the International Director at Chongqing Education Commission augurs particularly well, and I am confident that the visit will serve to deepen relationships and develop more opportunities for learners in Wales and Chongqing.” 

Posted by Marketing at 10:21

Students show support for Lesotho children

Lesotho 2 Lesotho 1

Eight students from the college Ystrad Mynach have returned from a successful trip to Lesotho, Africa, where they helped educate young third world children.

Accompanied by three lecturers from The College, the group flew out to Lesotho for two weeks.

The students, who are all studying either childcare or health and social care, encouraged disadvantaged children to learn through fun and creative play activities designed to help stimulate the development of English as a spoken language. The group also visited a range of pre-schools with the Ministry of Education which provided a valuable insight into the education system in Lesotho.

Before the trip, each student had to raise £800 individually to fund the project, which they did through organising ironing sessions, selling recipe books and drumming up local community support for their bake sales and car washes.

Alyson Lewis, Early Years lecturer at The College Ystrad Mynach and one of the lecturers on the trip, said:

“The students were able to develop their team work and problem solving skills whilst experiencing another culture.  It showed them how fortunate they are to be living in Wales where there are ample opportunities for them to learn.

“It also provided them with the opportunity to use the knowledge they have gained from their courses and to put these skills into practice in a real life situation. As a college, we hope to continue to strengthen our links with Lesotho in the future.”

The College’s link to Lesotho was first forged when its former head of care Lesley Cox visited the African country through her church in Penarth and set up a connection with the College on her return. This was the third year that a group from the College has visited Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa. Despite retiring in December 2011, Mrs Cox was also part of the trip.

One of the students who visited Lesotho was Amy Jones, aged 19, from Nelson. She said:

“It was an incredible experience. The children are so grateful and attentive as they really want to learn. It was extremely saddening to see the neglect some children face. However, we had great fun working with them and watching them learn. I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with such deserving children and it’s left a big impression on me.”

Posted by Marketing at 10:26

Caring students from the College Ystrad Mynach head to Africa


  Lesotho 1    


A CARING group of students from The College Ystrad Mynach are heading to Africa this month (March) to teach young third world children

Eight teenagers will fly to Lesotho on Sunday, March 18, and spend two weeks at a junior school where they will help the under-privileged young children develop their English language skills through play and fun activities.

The all-female group, who are studying either childcare or health and social care, have been hard at work with activities to raise the £800 they each need to fund the once-in-a-lifetime trip

Early years lecturer Alyson Lewis, one of three supervisors on the trip, explained what the students will be doing when they arrive in landlocked Lesotho, where around 40% of the two million population live below the poverty line.

“To help the children there, our students will be playing games and makingcrafts, organising basic stimulation activities and teaching English through nursery rhymes and songs,” she said.

Alyson, who also went on the trip last year, said the Ystrad students would discover a vast difference between their lives in South Wales and those of the Lesotho children, a number of whom are orphans.

She added: “The school has very limited resources and the classrooms are literally like shells. The floors are dusty and all they have is a chalkboard.”

As well as helping the young Lesotho children with their education, Alyson said the college students will benefit hugely from their experience.

Alyson added: “It will help to develop a cultural link for our students who will be able to see how a third world country is so different to their own.

“It makes the students grateful for what they have here in Wales and as the girls will need to think on their feet and work as a team, they will each be developing individually as a person.”

Student Amy Jones, 19, from Nelson, said they had been holding ironing sessions and selling recipe books and raffle tickets to raise funds for the trip.

Amy, who hopes to go on to study at Lancaster University, said: “I’m going to learn to live without luxury and how to cope in different situations and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m sure I’ll never forget it.”

It is the third year a group from the college has visited Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa.

The link with Lesotho was forged by the college’s former Head of Care Lesley Cox, who made her first trip to the African country through her church in Penarth and then set up the link with the college.

Lesley, who retired in December, is also going on the trip in March.

Posted by Marketing at 13:37