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Gower College Swansea awarded by experts for championing cyber security

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Schools and Colleges in Wales leading the way championing cyber education for pupils have been officially recognised with awards by the UK’s leading experts.

Three institutions are the latest in Wales to be awarded by the CyberFirst Schools initiative, led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ, for showcasing how they offer first-rate cyber security teaching in and out of the classroom.

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Chepstow School, Gower College Swansea and The College Merthyr Tydfil all received Silver awards in the latest round for top work including running an all-girls coding club, incorporating cyber skills into the digital curriculum and working with universities to hold sessions on cyber security.

They were joined by five other successful CyberFirst Schools and Colleges announced today (Wednesday) across the UK.

Since the initiative was launched in 2020, 49 CyberFirst Schools and Colleges have been recognised, helping to develop cyber skills ecosystems around the country and addressing the industry’s cyber skills gap.

Leanne Davies, Skills and Innovation Lead at Gower College Swansea, said: “Gower College Swansea are delighted to have been recognised by NCSC CyberFirst Schools for our hard work and dedication to quality computing and security education, helping to meet the growing industry demand in the local area.

“We are very much looking forward to working with the NCSC and Industry partners to continue to grow the opportunities for our learners throughout computing and cyber security.” 

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Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, said: “Well done to all the schools and colleges in Wales that have been awarded CyberFirst Schools status for the high standard of cyber security education they provide.

“Offering young people opportunities to gain hands-on experience of cyber security is essential for inspiring the next generation of talent and keeping the UK secure online in the years to come.

“We welcome these institutions to our growing community of schools, colleges, local industry and academic members who are playing a key role in helping cyber skills ecosystems thrive around the country.”

Applications from secondary schools and further education colleges were welcomed in this latest round from select areas around the UK.

The initiative’s Gold award recognises schools that show they deliver the highest standard of cyber security education; Silver awards indicate the schools are meeting most of the judging criteria and offering good standards and Bronze is for those working towards excellence.

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Being a CyberFirst School comes with a number of benefits including NCSC recognition and opportunities to collaborate with more than 130 CyberFirst partner organisations from a range of sectors on cyber related activities.

Examples of first-rate cyber security activities offered by the schools includes:

  • Chepstow College running an all-girls coding club once a week to encourage more girls to explore cyber security;
  • The College Merthyr Tydfil taking learners to universities to undertake sessions on cyber security and other digital industries to promote academic pathways into cyber and computing
  • Gower College Swansea creating a new Digital Skills and Innovation role within the college, with increased focus on cyber security.

(Lead image: Gower College Swansea)

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Gower College Swansea

Sketty Hall Business School appoints Advisory Board

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Sketty Hall Business School has announced the formation of its Advisory Board – key industry figures who will help shape the future of education and training across South Wales and beyond.

With the support of Welsh Government’s Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, Gower College Swansea has recently transformed the much loved Georgian building into a contemporary Business School.

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As well as being home to a range of professional, management and degree programmes, Sketty Hall Business School will also host high profile training events where academics, captains of industry and leading sporting personalities will inspire both businesses and individuals.

The Business School will also look to introduce the concepts of management and leadership to all its students, enabling them to become the inspirational leaders of the future.

“We are delighted to announce Sketty Hall Business School’s Advisory Board which will support Gower College Swansea in further understanding employers’ needs, and strengthen our relationships with key industries. The Board will help ensure that we are delivering the right skills for both now and in the future,” says Director of Skills and Business Development, Paul Kift.

“Delivering a cutting-edge, employer-led curriculum which supports economic development, and which is aligned to regional and Welsh priorities, is our key strategic aim as a Board.”

“Board members will have a major voice in shaping the business skills that are available across the region, benefitting learners and College staff whilst also creating a pipeline of talent for organisations. This will help to develop the prosperity and productivity of the wider business community. Together, we can also create skills solutions that will assist the Swansea Bay City Deal – enabling economic regeneration, development and growth.”

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The Sketty Hall Business School Advisory Board members are:

  • (Chair) Chris Foxall, Finance Director, Riversimple and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board Chair.
  • Deb Bowen-Rees, Chair of South West Wales Branch, IoD, formerly CEO of Cardiff Airport, and current NED at Milford Haven Port Authority.
  • Ian Price, Wales Director, CBI.
  • Lucie Thomas, Director of Recruitment, Learning and Development, Pobl Housing Association.
  • Adrian Sutton, CEO, Vortex IoT.
  • Lucy Cohen, Co-founder of Mazuma, and Swansea Bay City Deal Economic Strategy Board member.
  • Tony Roberts, Head of Wales, Vodafone.
  • Adrian Chard, Strategic Human Resources and Organisational Development Manager, Swansea Council.
  • Louise Harris, CEO, Tramshed Tech.
  • Lisa Mart, General Manager, Swansea Arena/Ambassador Theatre Group.
  • Alison Orrells, Managing Director, Safety Letterbox Company.
  • Michael Kavanagh, Development Director, Short Brothers.
  • Matt Wintle, Head of Learning & Development, Admiral.

“It’s wonderful to see Sketty Hall’s outstanding redevelopment being put to such good use as the home of the Sketty Hall Business School,” says Chris Foxall. “I’m very pleased to be chairing the business school’s advisory board which is made up of some of the best local employers and businesses leaders in the Swansea Bay City region.

“As the markets and economy continue to change, the demands on our business managers and leaders are increasingly challenging and complex. It’s important that the requirements of businesses help to inform the skills and training provision being developed by our education partners so that businesses can remain competitive and fulfil their potential growth.

“The Swansea Bay City region is one of the best places for ambitious companies looking to grow and invest for the future and, clearly, the best investment any company can make is in its people. Gower College Swansea wants to make sure they’re offering courses that protect those investments and, at the same time, give their students the best chance at a successful career in business and management.”

“I’m delighted that, with the support of Welsh Government, we have been able to make these excellent facilities at Sketty Hall Business School available for all of our students,” says Gower College Swansea Principal, Mark Jones. “And now, with the support of our new Advisory Board, we can begin to make a real impact in this key area for all businesses.”

Lead image: Gower College Swansea Advisory Board Sketty Hall (Image: Adrian White)

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Education

Neath Abbey Welsh medium primary school given go-ahead

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Neath Port Talbot Council’s new Rainbow Coalition Cabinet has agreed to move forward with plans to open Neath Port Talbot’s first ever Welsh medium primary “starter school” at Neath Abbey.

The new Welsh medium starter school in premises previously occupied by Abbey Primary School at St John’s Terrace, Neath Abbey, could welcome its first pupils next January if fully approved.

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Part of the council’s strategy to increase Welsh medium education across the county borough, the Cabinet agreed to move the starter school plan to its next stage – publication of a statutory proposal to establish the new school.

The starter school model is used when establishing a new school, gradually allowing the facilities and staff to be used efficiently while the school grows to its full potential.

Under the plans, £200,000 would be set aside for refurbishments and improvements including the provision of learning walls and digital equipment ensuring the school can deliver the new curriculum.

Cllr Nia Jenkins, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Training, said: “This council has a ten year target to increase the number of Year 1 children taught through the medium of Welsh from 16.8% in 2020/21 to 31% (460 pupils) by 2032 and this proposed new school will help reach that target.

“It also complements the national vision for the Welsh language, to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

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(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Education

Pontarddulais school’s physical education department supported by Amazon

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A comprehensive school in Pontarddulais has received a £1,000 donation from the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea.

Pontarddulais Comprehensive School plans to use the donation to purchase new safety mats for use in PE lessons.

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They say this will allow their pupils to enjoy activities such as gymnastics and inspire more pupils to follow in the footsteps of their peers who have recently succeeded at a national level.

Christopher Law, General Manager at Amazon in Swansea, said: “At Amazon, we recognise the value of extra-curricular development, and we are pleased to lend a helping hand to Pontarddulais Comprehensive School with this donation. We wish the school well as it seeks to inspire and engage the leaders of tomorrow through both academic and physical education.”

Nigel Hughes, who is an engineer at Amazon in Swansea and put the school forward for the donation, added: “My children receive a fantastic education and genuine support at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, and it’s great that Amazon is providing this donation to help fund new equipment.”

Julie Evans, Area Coordinator for Health and Wellbeing at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, said: “We want to thank Christopher and the Amazon team in Swansea. This kind and generous donation will support us in continuing to create the high-quality facilities required for a first-class educational experience. It will be a great addition allowing us to strengthen and expand our school’s physical activity opportunities.”

The donation to Pontarddulais Comprehensive School was made as part of Amazon’s programme to support the communities in and around its operating locations across the UK.

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(Lead image: Pontarddulais Comprehensive School)

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