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Coleg Sir Gâr

£29m extra support for further education students

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The Welsh Government has today (Sunday 7 January 2021) announced an extra £29m for colleges, including £26.5m to support learners on vocational learning programmes.

The funding will be used to support learners in completing their vocational qualifications this academic year, by providing additional support and removing barriers that may prevent completion.

And extra £2.5m will also support Welsh colleges and private training providers provide additional Mental Health support in recognition of the increased mental wellness issues as a result of the pandemic.

The funding is in addition to £23 million announced by the Welsh Government to support colleges in July.

On Friday (5 February), it was announced that some vocational learners will return to college after the half term break.  Learners studying “licence to practice” qualifications, including apprentices, will be in the first priority group to return, so that they can access the facilities and equipment necessary for their courses.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:  “There are around 50,000 learners in Wales currently undertaking vocational qualifications. This support will help our colleges provide even greater support to help those learners get the qualifications they’ve worked so hard for. 

“It’s important we take action to support this year’s students, so they can go on to their next stage of education, training or work as they had planned. We are working with colleges to plan a safe, socially distanced return for the vocational students who need it most.”

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Rebecca Evans, the Finance Minister and Trefnydd, said: “As a Government, we want to ensure nobody is left behind due to the pandemic. This is another example of the funding we’ve announced this year to support young people at all stages of their education journey.”

(Lead image: Pixabay / Pexels.com)


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Carmarthenshire

West Wales restaurateur Simon Wright appointed UWTSD Professor of Practice

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Simon Wright, restaurateur, broadcaster, food writer, and consultant has been appointed to the role of Professor of Practice by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).

The title of Professor of Practice is awarded to acknowledge an individual’s academic and/or professional distinction in a field which is aligned to the University’s mission and strategic direction. Professor Simon Wright’s expertise will be pivotal in assisting the University to develop initiatives which aim to deliver economic, social and cultural growth linked to local food and hospitality, sustainability, agriculture and rural entrepreneurship.

Professor Wright is a renowned champion of Welsh food and drink produce, sustainable agriculture and the hospitality industry.  He has managed restaurants in Carmarthenshire for over 30 years and has developed a career as a broadcaster participating in a range of TV and radio programmes, including for the BBC and Channel 4.  He was the restaurant consultant for Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares in the UK and Europe for 10 years, as well as a restaurant inspector for the AA’s Restaurant Guide.  In 2010 he was named the Local Food Ambassador for Wales and was awarded the Wales True Taste Champion Award in the Welsh Government’s annual awards for his “dedication and devotion to Welsh food and drink”.

Simon has served on the Welsh Government Food and Farming Sector Panel and has been active for many years in contributing to food policy at all levels of government including the Food Strategy for Wales and the Food Tourism Action Plan. Most recently he has been working with Coleg Sir Gâr on designing further education courses based on sustainable and local food production and with Carmarthenshire County Council in radical efforts aimed at putting local food on the public plate.

He recently co-founded the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective as a response to the challenges facing the sector from Covid-19. The collective now has more than 300 supporting businesses across Wales and is actively engaged with Welsh Government on strategies for the survival and recovery of the sector.

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Simon Wright, who also has a background in Town and Country Planning, said on his appointment: “I’m pleased to have this opportunity to play a role in supporting the University’s ambitions for sustainable regeneration in West Wales based around the rural economy and particularly the food and hospitality industries. There has never been a more crucial and acute time for these issues to be addressed. My passion is local food and all that comes with it – community, landscape, agriculture – and I’m delighted to have this opportunity and to be able to play a part in shaping the future of food and farming in West Wales and further afield”.

Professor Wright will be part of the team delivering Canolfan Tir Glas, a major development for the University’s Lampeter Campus. Its aim is to promote the local food industry, local sustainability, resilience, and enterprise within a rural context. Working closely with Ceredigion County Council and a range of local organisations, the initiative will strengthen the economic infrastructure of Lampeter and the surrounding area. 

A core part of the scheme is the collaboration with food retailer Aldi to develop a food village on part of the University’s Pontfaen fields, as well as a food and hospitality training centre within the town. The development also includes the creation of a Rural Enterprise Hub and a University of Gastronomy on the University’s campus itself. Professor Wright will assist in the development of the Lampeter training restaurant as a commercial outlet for local and regional food and drink producers, assisting in the development of local food supply chains and primary and secondary food manufacturing in the region.

In addition, he will support research and enterprise, as well as curriculum development at all levels across the UWTSD Group, which includes Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion as constituent colleges.

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Barry Liles, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Skills and Lifelong Learning and Head of the Wales Institute for Science and Arts said: “I’m pleased to welcome Simon Wright as a Professor of Practice to the University. The University will benefit from his expertise and experience in the food and hospitality industries, and in particular, the needs and demands for these industries in the rural communities of West Wales. We are developing an exciting curriculum, as well as research and enterprise initiatives to ensure that this crucial sector is supported by a highly skilled workforce as well as having access to the University’s expertise, technology and innovation, particularly post COVID”.

Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the Lampeter Campus who is leading on the development of Canolfan Tir Glas said: “I’m delighted that Simon Wright will be lending his expertise to the development of Canolfan Tir Glas. This initiative is underpinned by economic regeneration, with the aim of creating new jobs, attracting many more visitors to the town and increasing the number of further and higher education students studying in Lampeter.  His insight and leadership on aspects of the project will be invaluable.”

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor added: “Simon Wright’s appointment as a Professor of Practice is central to the University’s strategy for developing provision in Lampeter that is linked to regional needs and government sector priority areas. The development of such provision aims to support the recovery and resilience of our communities, post pandemic, through knowledge transfer, research innovation, workforce development and by providing a ready pipeline of skilled, digitally literate students and graduates, in partnership with employers.  The food, farming and hospitality industries are the mainstays of those communities in West Wales and Professor Wright’s experience in advising government policy and working in these areas over the past 30 years makes him a great asset to the University.  I’m pleased to welcome him to the UWTSD community”.

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire rugby shirt reminder of academy season cut short for German girl

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A Coleg Sir Gâr rugby jersey has made its way to Germany to help an overseas student reminisce about her time at the college’s rugby academy which was cut short due to the pandemic.

Annika May, who is from the south-west of Germany, was studying AS-Levels when the coronavirus struck.

She was inspired to take part in the girls’ rugby academy after her friend told her she enjoyed playing rugby as part of an Irish exchange programme.

Annika May said: “When I heard there was a team at the college, I really wanted to try it out as I’d never played it before.

“I like trying out new sports and thought rugby would be really cool, especially as it’s so popular in Wales.

“A big thank you to Euros and his team for all the support and for showing me a new sport which I am also learning to play in my local rugby club, SVF Rugby Ludwigshafen, who are really supportive.

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“I’m so happy I had the opportunity to play with the Steelers team.”

Annika asked to buy a college jersey as it would represent very fond memories for her, so the rugby academy was delighted to send her a complimentary playing shirt and training top.

Euros Evans heads the rugby academy at the college, he said: “Annika was in the squad for Rosslyn Park but unfortunately, the virus hit us and the end of her rugby experience was cut short.

“She was a fully-committed player who never missed a session, she quickly learned the principles of the game and was a member of girls team that participated in the WRU regional 7s tournament.

“It’s a shame the coronavirus cut short her rugby experience but I hope she can continue playing back in Germany.”

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(Lead image: Coleg Sir Gâr)


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