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The College plans £20m leisure and teaching centre for students and community

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The College Ystrad Mynach has unveiled plans to build a brand new £20m leisure and teaching centre for both students and the local community.

The state-of-the-art centre will provide a huge range of leisure and teaching facilities including a full-sized sports hall, an eight-lane 25m swimming pool, a learner pool, a gymnasium, beauty spa and café.

The upper floors of the centre at the top of the college site off Twyn Road will house teaching and learning spaces for the college, including art and photography studios.

In the centre’s atrium, an aeroplane fuselage will be suspended from the roof which will be used by air cabin crew students, and accessed from the upper floor.

It is hoped the centre will be open in time for the college’s September intake in 2013.

The development is still in its early stages and an open day is being held at the college on Wednesday, November 23, from 2pm to 7pm, when residents can look at the plans, see what facilities are being proposed and ask questions about the leisure centre.

Paul Martin, the College Deputy Principal responsible for planning and finance, said the centre would be of benefit to both students and people living nearby.

 “We are looking to accommodate everyone. In the day, the pool will be open for local schools to use for their lessons and then in the evening, the majority of the sports facilities will be available for the public,” said Mr Martin.

The new modern sports facilities will replace the College’s out-of-date gymnasium.

Mr Martin added: “Our sports programmes at the college have been growing for a number of years and the facilities we have for the students are simply out of date. And we also have inadequate facilities for our art and photography students so they will all be upgraded as part of this exciting development.”

College Principal Bryn Davies said: “This new leisure centre will be a fabulous addition to the resources on offer at the College. It will not only benefit our students but also the wider community who will be able to use the state-of-the-art facilities.”

Some of the funding for the ambitious scheme will come from the College and it is hoped further contributions will be secured from the Welsh Government, in addition to grants from Europe and the Sports Lottery.

The college hopes to put in an application for planning permission to Caerphilly County Borough Council in December.

Designed by Bristol architects AWW, the proposed new leisure centre will replace the old S block which is currently used for general education studies.

While the new centre is being built, those studies will be housed in temporary accommodation and then brought in to the main college building.

Posted by Marketing at 10:41

Student from The College Ystrad Mynach bids for Apprentice of the Year award

Rhys Apprentice Award.jpgA hard-working student from The College Ystrad Mynach is in the running to become Apprentice of the Year in a Wales-wide award scheme.

Rhys West, 20, from Penpedairheol, is a finalist in the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru which celebrate the achievements of apprentices, employers and learning providers.

The awards, which are split into eight different categories, are organised by the Welsh Government together with the National Training Federation Wales.

Rhys has been invited to an awards ceremony at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House on November 16 where he will find out if he has won the top prize in the Apprentice of the Year category.

After gaining a handful of low-grade GCSEs at Lewis School in Pengam in 2007, Rhys decided to give plumbing a go and began a four-year apprenticeship with Brecongate Projects Ltd in Treforest. While gaining hands-on experience four days a week with the firm, Rhys was also in the classroom once a week.

For the last two years, he has been studying under the expert tutors at The College Ystrad Mynach and has successfully completed an NVQ Level 3 in mechanical engineering (plumbing).

Rhys has also added to his skills with gas and electrical qualifications by going to evening classes at the college. He said the apprenticeship not only helped him to learn a host of practical skills but also boosted his confidence.

He said:  “The apprenticeship has given me the inspiration and confidence to continue to gain new skills to further develop my career. My self confidence has been boosted having to deal with so many varied situations over the past four years. I also learned a lot about myself and my capabilities.

When he first started at Brecongate, he was doing small tasks under supervision but very quickly found himself being given a lot more responsibility and, by the end of the second year, was regularly working on his own.

Rhys, who enjoys going to the gym in his spare time, said:  “Training with the college and the support of the tutors and the engineers at Brecongate has been absolutely priceless.”As well as setting him on the road to success, Rhys’ hard work has had other benefits.

He has inspired his father Paul to re-train as a mechanical engineer at The College Ystrad Mynach after 30 years as a full time welder/fabricator.Paul has also been taken on by Brecongate and father and son often work as a team together.

College Principal Bryn Davies said: “Rhys is a shining example of what hard work and determination can achieve. He has worked extremely hard during his apprenticeship and we wish him all the best for the awards and in his future career.”  

Posted by Marketing at 10:39
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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

Hairdressing students show they are a cut above the rest

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Thirty hairdressing students from The College Ystrad Mynach are heading to London next week to show off their talents to the world.

The NVQ level 3 hairdressing students are appearing at WorldSkills London 2011, the world's largest international skills showcase.

The students were invited to take part in the event at the ExCel exhibition centre after impressing the organisers with a fund-raising show they did for teenage cancer at the college in Ystrad Mynach in April.

Salon manager and lecturer Dave Bassett explained:

The organisers put out a call for people to put on a display of t heir skills. We did a show here in April, where we showed the organisers what our talented hairdressing students are capable of, and we were delighted when they chose us to go to London.”

The hairdressing students will spend next Friday morning (October 7) creating their designs on stage at the venue in London’s Royal Docks. They will then have half an hour on the catwalk later in the day to show them off.

Mr Bassett added: “It is an excellent advert for their work and brilliant for the students to be able to put something like this on their CVs.”

The themes the hairdressers have chosen come from the Welsh Assembly’s Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship programme which encourages students to think about links between society, economy and the environment and between their lives and those of people throughout the world.

One of the young hairdressers taking part is 18-year-old Emma Hardcastle, from Blackwood. 

Emma, a former Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School pupil who is now in her third year at the college, has only had three weeks to prepare for the show.

“I was a model at the show we did in April but when someone dropped out of the London show three weeks ago, I was asked to do the actual styling,” said full-time student Emma, who will be using Sabrina Dimampro to model her striking hairstyle.

Emma’s style is called “tornado” and is based on the theme of climate change.  It involves pinning a wig around a polystyrene cone which is then attached to Sabrina’s head to form the body of the “tornado.”

A wispy cloud will be placed on top of the tornado to create a show-stopping visual effect at the event, which has been created from real hair Emma and her fellow students collected after a practical session in the college salon.

Emma, who hopes to go into hairdressing full time when she completes college, said: “I am really excited about taking part in the event as it’s going to be such a great experience for me and I’ll be able to learn a lot from the other hairdressers and their work.”

The WorldSkills event is held in different countries every other year and around 150,000 visitors are expected to visit the London showcase where 1,000 competitors from more than 50 countries will be demonstrating 46 different skills from hairdressing to bricklaying over four days from October 5 to 8.

The College Ystrad Mynach has centres in Ystrad Mynach, Rhymney, Bargoed, Blackwood, Aber Valley, Caerphilly and Tredomen.

Posted by Marketing at 10:31

The stars are looking down on Wales

Do you want to know about the planets and constellations? Do you want to know more about the night sky? Do you want to learn how to use a telescope? If so, an innovative astronomy course offered by UHOVI (Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute) may be just what you are looking for!

The course is delivered by the University of Glamorgan and aims to introduce anyone with an interest in the night sky to the wonders of the universe, no matter how great or how little their experience.  Through a combination of practical observations and discussions, students will learn the constellations, observe the moon, sun and planets and will learn how to take photos of the night sky, use telescopes and binoculars and view the night sky at arranged sessions in addition to using the Faulkes telescopes in Hawaii and Australia.

The course includes such themes as constellatons, myths and magic: astrophotography; finding your way around the sky; coloured stars and star clusters; galaxies and how to find them and many more.

University of Glamorgan astronomer Martin Griffiths states: 'This course is a unique opportunity for anyone to get to know a little more of our fantastic universe and to enjoy the heritage of the night sky.'

The course will run weeky at The College Rhymney, Whitbread Centre, Rhymney walk, Rhymney, NP22 5XE on Fridays 2-4pm from 7th October 2011.

Students living or working in Blaenau Gwent, caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf or Torfaen may qualify for the UHOVI Bursary Scheme, meaning this course would be free.

If you wish to enrol on this exciting course, or require further details, then please contact: Martin Griffiths on 01443 483329, email mgriffi8@glam.ac.uk or call UHOVI on 0800 1223 220 email enquiries@uhovi.ac.uk

Posted by Marketing at 10:28


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