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3,000 new apprenticeships created in Swansea Bay City Region

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UK Government Minister for Wales David TC Davies has met young people set to benefit from a new £30m initiative to provide training and development opportunities.

Following the UK Government and Welsh Government approval of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Skills and Talent programme, Minister Davies met students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Gower College Swansea to hear how it will benefit young people across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, County of Swansea, and Neath Port Talbot.

The programme will provide opportunities for thousands of people and business across the Swansea Bay Region to access skills and training, focussing on industries with high demand for workers. Working in partnership with training providers such as local authorities, schools, colleges, universities and businesses, the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership will lead the delivery of the programme to identify skill, find training solutions and develop education and training projects to meet these demands.

Carmarthenshire County Council is the lead Local Authority responsible for the programme that will benefit the whole of the Swansea Bay City Region. The programme will create at least 3,000 new apprenticeships and deliver an additional 2,200 development opportunities as well as creating centres of excellence within sectors including digital, energy, construction, and wellbeing.

During the visit to Gower College Swansea, Minister Davies met apprentices who are working with EV Wales learning to install electric car charge points. He also spent time learning about the work of Elite Aerial Services and talking to their apprentices about working with robots in fibre infrastructure and communications.

At the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Minister Davies also met students from Ysgol Bro Myrddin and Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth Comprehensive Schools who are already benefitting from a pilot project, which will be rolled out more widely in the future.  The students, who are currently undertaking BTEC Level 2 and 3 in Engineering, were able to demonstrate their skills using the facilities at the university. The pilot scheme was set up to encourage the exchange of expertise and resources across training providers in the region.

UK Government Minister for Wales David TC Davies said: “I am thrilled to meet the young people set to benefit from the £30 million Skills and Talent programme and hear their exciting plans for the future. The UK Government is committed to providing excellent development opportunities for people in Wales and helping firms to retain local talent. I look forward to seeing people across south west Wales take these opportunities to develop their skills and move into well-paid jobs in growing sectors such as engineering, renewable energy and digital innovation.”

Barry Liles OBE, Senior Responsible Owner for the Skills and Talent programme and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills & Lifelong Learning) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David said: “The success of securing the funding for the skills & talent initiative will be transformational for the region and will leave a significant legacy of high-level skills occupations and clearly defined career pathways for young people. The RLSP is a mature and proven collaboration of providers who will support the needs of the city deal projects whilst also signposting individuals into sustainable employment.”

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Dr Llinos Jones, Head Teacher at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, and Wyn Evans, Head Teacher at Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth whose pupils took part in an apprenticeship pilot scheme added We, as two schools in the region, are delighted to be part of the Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent Programme. The programme aims to provide a regional solution to identify and deliver the skills and training required for City Deal projects. This investment will allow schools like ours to develop courses that will ultimately support projects and people across the region. Through the program we have developed a Welsh Medium learning pathway in Engineering and IT for over 120 pupils in year one.”

Cllr Emlyn Dole, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said “We are delighted to welcome the Minster to the region and look forward to rolling out the Skills and Talent programme following the success of our pilot scheme. This approval is very important to us so that we can provide education and training solutions for young people to learn and gain employment locally.

“This programme, along with the other parts of City Deal portfolio will help raise the entire regions profile by attracting inward investment, and coupled with creating highly skilled individuals, it will ensure that South West Wales is the perfect place to live and work for generations to come.” 

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, added, “Minister Davies’ visit will help further raise the profile of the City Deal’s Skills and Talent programme. This programme is key to the overall City Deal investment portfolio as it will equip thousands of local people with the skills they’ll need to access well-paid jobs being created by the other City Deal projects in coming years.

“Many of the other City Deal projects are already in delivery, with the investment set to play a key role in accelerating our regional economic recovery from the pandemic.

“The Swansea Bay City Deal, with eight of its nine programmes and projects now approved, is in a very strong position to further benefit as many regional residents and businesses as possible in the near future.”

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Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea said: “We are delighted to welcome Minister Davies and the City Deal officers to the College today. Over a number of years we have been preparing for the City Deal by investing in the development of innovative curriculum to meet key City Deal requirements. In partnership with industry we have developed new programmes in digital, green energy, advanced manufacturing and health and social care, which has led to a 25% increase in apprentices we support in these areas. In 2021-22 we plan to support over 3,500 apprentices including 2,200 apprentices developing skills in key City Deal sectors.”

(All images: UWTSD)

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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