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.

The College Ystrad Mynach Principal steps down

After 40 years devoted to the education industry, Principal Bryn Davies at The College Ystrad Mynach has retired, while The College merges with Coleg Morgannwg to become Coleg y Cymoedd.

Mr Davies has been at the helm of The College Ystrad Mynach for nearly 16 years, where he has taken charge of over 500 staff and more than 13,000 students, and has stepped down following the college’s merger with Coleg Morgannwg.

Having initially arrived at The College Ystrad Mynach in 1997, Mr Davies has driven a complete revamp of the college, including overseeing a £7 million investment into community learning and the opening of five new campuses – including Blackwood, Tredomen and Bargoed – with student numbers trebling.

Born in London, his first teaching job at Davidson Road School in Croydon in the 1960s, saw him helping pupils with remedial maths and English, and he has dedicated his life to teaching since, with an impressive background of various teaching jobs all over the country. 

Having previously taught at Stevenage College in Edinburgh and Brooklands College in Surrey, he joined Basingstoke College in 1979 as a head of section, where he ran classes on writing computer applications, eventually overseeing the first purchase of computers for the college. 

He continued to implement his community work in the 1980’s when he took up a post in Chichester College, bringing in £995,000 worth of commercial contracts, resulting in helping hundreds of people into jobs through training, before  joining  Somerset College of  Arts and Technology.

It is this commitment to community and teaching that has made his career so successful.

As four decades of teaching comes to an end, 66 year old Bryn Davies will now look forward to the future, in particular his involvement with the UFI charitable trust board and spending time with family.

The UFI Charitable trust is a charity aimed at providing funding for initiatives to improve the accessibility and delivery of adult learning.

News of Bryn Davies’ retirement comes as an end of an era for both him and the college.

The College Ystrad Mynach is to merge with Coleg Morgannwg at the end of the academic year to create Coleg y Cymoedd, meaning College of the Valleys.

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

“I will look back at my time at The College Ystrad Mynach with absolute fondness. 

“I have had a fantastic 40 year teaching career, in which I’ve met all different kinds of brilliant people, both teachers, students and beyond.

“My contribution towards education will not end here, as I’ll now look to focus on adult access to education in South Wales. 

“I hope the new college goes from strength to strength, and I’ll certainly keep track of its success, but most of all I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.”

Bryn Davies

Posted by marketing at 09:24

Carpentry students carve a solid future following 100% success

Construction 100%

Back Left to Right: Robert Ford, Josh Seabourne, Ryan Cairns, Owen Ford, Ieuan Jones. Front Left to Right: Students Dean Greg, Margan Plantt, James Mills and tutor, Mansel Powell.


A CLASS of carpentry and joinery students at The College Ystrad Mynach have achieved a 100% pass grade in their diplomas.

The diploma group are now all fully qualified to enter the industry as professional tradesmen.

The three year course, which qualifies participants at level three, is designed to build theoretical knowledge in the classroom and aid practical skills in the workplace.

Starting from one day a week at level one, work placements increase to four days a week by the third year.

Robert Ford, from Mountain Ash, said the course has helped him to develop the skills he needed to open a carpentry business.

The 22 year old said:

“Woodwork was my favourite subject at school and following some research, I thought The College Ystrad Mynach diploma was the best course for me. Our tutors were incredibly supportive and the results are a credit to them, as they helped us achieve our grades and really get the most out of work experience placements.

“The diploma has allowed me to work four days a week as a joiner in Cilfynydd, Pontypridd which has given me valuable experience.

“Now I am qualified, I would like to start my own carpentry business. The knowledge and skills I have learnt on the course will help me achieve this and I am really looking forward to the future”

Level three Course Tutor at The College Ystrad Mynach, Mansel Powell, said:

“I’m so proud of the students’ achievements, as it’s a tough course and long-term commitment.

“Our students have learnt a lot from the classroom and applied that knowledge to practical situations in the workplace.

“We’ve had some fantastic feedback from the businesses we’ve partnered with, which is a testament to our students’ positive attitude and skills.”

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

“I’m delighted that our carpentry and joinery students have achieved such splendid results.

“We are committed to forming strong links with local businesses and this demonstrates exactly how well it can work.

“We always look to help our students find employment after their time with us and providing practical experience in the workplace certainly benefits their future prospects.”

Posted by marketing at 10:30

Award paints Hengoed student’s path to success

Active Pathwaysd Learner

Laurell posing with former rugby star Jonathan Davies


A HENGOED student has been awarded a prestigious learning prize as a result of her outstanding level of work at The College Ystrad Mynach.

Laurell Pearce has won the Overall Learner of the Year prize, as part of the Active Pathways scheme, created to incentivise young people to achieve in college.  

28 Active Pathways students from around South Wales were nominated for this prized title, which was presented by former rugby star Jonathan Davies, Skills Ambassador for Associated Community Training (ACT).

Laurell, who also won Year 10 Learner of the Year, was recognised for excellent attendance and strong enthusiasm for the painting and decorating qualification she is working towards. 

The 15 year old has just completed Level One of the BTEC Painting and Decorating course and will be a qualified tradesperson when she finishes level two in 2014.

Laurell, from Hengoed, started at the College in October 2012, after deciding to pursue a career in painting and decorating. In addition to the course, she is also studying for GCSEs in Maths and English to further her prospects.

Out of 80 students on Active Pathways placements, five additional College Ystrad Mynach students from Year 10 and 11 won awards across various categories, including Most Improved Learner, Best Attendance and Learner of the Year.

Laurell said:

“I’m so pleased to win the Active Pathways Overall Learner of the Year award as I have really enjoyed my course so far, particularly the practical side where I have been painting and stencilling. I knew I wanted to attend The College Ystrad Mynach as the painting and decorating course looked great and I heard great things about the college.

“Since I started, my tutors and Active Pathways coaches have been really supportive and I’m looking forward to going on placement next year, where I will be able to do even more practical activities.

“I’m hoping to start an apprenticeship when I finish the course, which will really help me launch my career in painting and decorating.”

Louise Gill, Laurell’s Active Pathways Learning Coach, added:

 “Laurell is doing really well at college and her attendance has doubled since her time at school, which shows the course has had a really positive impact on her life.

“Her confidence has grown and she has made some great friends. In terms of the course, she has been absolutely brilliant and has shown a real talent. She thoroughly deserves the award and I’m sure she will do really well in her future career.”

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

“The Active Pathways awards ceremony is a great way to celebrate young people’s achievements from the past year. I am thrilled that several of our students won awards at the event, as it marks their determination to succeed.

“Since starting at the college in October, Laurell has really flourished and is a brilliant student. She has completed several key skills, including communications, application of number and ICT. Furthermore, she is a talented painter and decorator and I have no doubt she has an excellent future ahead of her.”

Posted by marketing at 09:33

The College Ystrad Mynach senior staff scoop prestigious learning awards

    Bryn Niace Awards  Rhos Niace Awards

Left: Principal Bryn Davies. Right: Community Learning Officer Rhos Griffiths


SENIOR staff at The College Ystrad Mynach have won prestigious learning awards.

Principal Bryn Davies celebrated the Services to Lifelong Learning Award at the NIACE Inspire Awards 2013, while Rhos Griffiths, Community Learning Officer at the College, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr Davies took over as principal of The College in 1997, following the departure of Don Brooks, as part of a career in education that has spanned over 40 years.

During his tenure he has overseen over £7 million invested into community learning, the opening of five new campuses - including Blackwood, Tredomen and Bargoed - and student numbers that have trebled, reaching 13,000 this year.

Mr Davies said:

“Working in education has certainly taught me one thing, you need people around you with a common dream and goal.

“Particularly those that remove the barriers, and inspire you to achieve, and it has been a great privilege to be able to share this with our community learners and to make a real difference.”       

Rhos Griffiths, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, was instrumental in starting the Caerphilly Learning Festival Group and has acted as both Chair and Treasurer over the last six years.

His enthusiasm and passion for adult education has brought together a robust group of educational providers who meet regularly throughout the year.  

Mr Griffiths said:

“My career in education has spanned over 40 years starting as an adult education tutor and rising to the Wales Director of a national organisation in the form of NIACE Dysgu Cymru.

“I have decided to retire in July from my role as Community Learning Officer with The College Ystrad Mynach and I am busy taking the lead in succession planning to find adult educators to take forward the work of the Caerphilly Learning Festival Group.”

Posted by Marketing at 13:27

The College Ystrad Mynach student win is a piece of cake

             Cupcake Competition

A MERTHYR Tydfil student has baked her way to victory, after winning Gold in a catering competition against professional chefs from across Wales and England.

Eloise Powell, who is studying Level One Professional Cookery at The College Ystrad Mynach, took part in a master-chef style competition by baking 16 cupcakes in limited time at The Welsh International Culinary Championships.

The 22 year old had just 30 minutes to create four different cupcake designs, assessed by judges from the Welsh Culinary Association - a body recognised for promoting excellence in cookery within Wales.

The panel presented Eloise with the Gold Award after recognising excellence in her originality, style of presentation and assembly of products and flavours.

Hosted by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, the championships are designed to showcase Welsh culinary talent and celebrate skills in developing quality food.

The College Ystrad Mynach has participated in competitions at the Rhos on Sea based institution for nearly a decade, giving students an opportunity to experience challenges in the work place.

Furthermore, Eloise is the second student from The College Ystrad Mynach to receive the ‘best in class award’ at the championships.

An aspiring pâtisserie chef, she commented that her success is due to a mixture of passion, determination and support:

“I am thrilled to win both the gold and best in class awards. I have been baking from the age of six, but recovering from a spine operation three years ago gave me the determination to cook professionally.

“I would not have been able to enter this competition without the support of The College Ystrad Mynach and have applied for my second year at The College.

“Once I gain my qualifications, I plan to move to New Zealand, as I’ve already been offered a job by one of the judges.”

Liz Jones, Head of Service Industries, Hospitality and Catering at The College Ystrad Mynach, said Miss Powell’s aptitude for cookery was recognised at an early stage:

“I am delighted that Eloise has been offered such a fantastic and nationally recognised award. Creating high quality cupcakes in half an hour is very challenging and Eloise’s sheer creativity and passion for baking carried her through the competition.

“As a college, we try to drive students to participate in as many competitions as possible in order to give them a chance to showcase their hard work and abilities.

“We recognised Eloise’s gift for baking very early on and both awards are a testament to her incredible talent.”

Bryn Davies, principal at The College Ystrad Mynach, commented:

“I am very proud that one of our students has achieved such a splendid result.

“Our students are driven, intelligent and talented individuals and Eloise’s accomplishment signifies the professional standard of our students.

“Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure great prospects for each individual and we are thrilled to be partly responsible for Eloise’s bright future.”

Posted by marketing at 11:57