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Gower College Swansea is top of class at UK-wide AAC Apprenticeship Awards

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Gower College Swansea has been recognised for its outstanding apprenticeship provision at the prestigious UK AAC Apprenticeship Awards 2022.

Winning both the Care Services Apprenticeship Provider of the Year Award and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Apprenticeship Champion Award, the College has been recognised for its excellence, scooping two of the 24 awards that were available at the ceremony, chosen from 370 entries.

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Gower College Swansea had the most wins of any provider in the UK and was the only Welsh provider to receive an award on the evening.

These are the seventh national apprenticeship award-wins for the College over the past three years, following the College’s triumph at the TES FE Awards 2021, where they were named as having the UK Apprenticeship Programme of the Year.

Gower College Swansea has invested heavily in its service for additional learning needs (ALN) apprentices, with the number of learners rising from 1.6% in 2015 to 7.3% today. The ALN department has also expanded to now include dedicated Neurodiversity and Cognitive ALN specialists, among many other services that sets it apart from other apprenticeship providers.

Commenting on the College’s ALN provision is Head of Work Based Learning, Rachel Searle: “Our team demonstrates an exceptional commitment to apprentices with additional learning needs. We provide tailored diagnostic assessment and support to optimise the success of individuals with disabilities and we adjust our teaching techniques to suit their individual needs. Our additional support makes it a more inclusive and relaxed learning experience, from our 1-1 support, to the specialist equipment we offer such as C pens, laptops with specialist software, Dictaphones and overlays.

“As one of Wales’ largest providers of apprenticeships, inclusivity is critical to our operation, and we are proud to have been recognised for this. We hope to inspire even more individuals with additional learning needs to become apprentices, and we are there to support them every step of the way.”

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The Health and Social Care provision at the College has also experienced huge success since establishing over 20 years ago. With teaching staff that have a wealth of first-hand sector experience, apprentices can relax in the knowledge that apprenticeships are delivered by a team that understands the complex and challenging nature of the health and social care sector.

Paul Kift, Rachel Searle and Mark Jones from Gower College Swansea (Image: Gower College Swansea)

Commenting on the Care Services Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award win is Director of Skills and Business Development, Paul Kift: “I am hugely proud that our Health and Social Care team has been recognised for their dedication to our fantastic apprentices and employers. Our provision has always enjoyed an excellent reputation locally, but I am delighted that they now have that recognition on the UK stage.

“The health and social care sector has been under a huge amount of pressure over the past few years. When Covid first hit the UK, our team worked tirelessly to support the NHS to deliver clinical induction training and manual handling training to NHS workers. While others in the team volunteered to work at hospitals, supporting the vaccination programme for our local communities.

“Our hands-on approach to teaching, and our proactive collaborations with organisations of all sizes, helped 100% of our Health and Social Care apprentices remain in employment after completing their training with us – which really wasn’t easy for our staff, learners or employers in the midst of the pandemic.”

Principal of Gower College, Mark Jones, said: “We are immensely proud to have received both awards and to once again be recognised as one of the top UK apprenticeship providers. It is testimony to the high quality of our work in this area, as well as our focus on meeting national priorities.

Our close relationships with businesses across Wales and England means that we can offer recruitment and training solutions to businesses of all sizes; from small private companies and large multi-national organisations, to the public sector.

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“With the recent refurbishment of Sketty Hall Business School, we are also looking forward to expanding our offer even further and welcoming even more learners through our doors.”

(Lead image: Gower College Swansea)

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Swansea University

Swansea University academics recognised as top women in engineering

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Swansea University’s Professor Serena Margadonna has been named one of the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50) by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

The annual WE50 awards take place on International Women in Engineering Day, 23 June, which this year celebrates inventors and innovators who can #ImagineTheFuture.

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The award, in association with The Guardian and Ball Corporation, a global supplier of sustainable packaging, recognises the best and brightest women in the engineering sector.

It is a celebration of those who identify an unmet need and make it their purpose to create a solution or improve existing products and processes to make our lives easier.

Professor Serena Margadonna (Image: Swansea University)

Professor Margadonna holds a Chair in Chemical Engineering and is Head of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Swansea University.

Her work is inspired by the simple realisation that major technological advances require truly multidisciplinary research which continuously evolves, adapts, and innovates.

Following this ethos, in collaboration with industrial partners, Professor Margadonna is currently facilitating the commercialisation of next-generation sustainable rechargeable batteries for the electrification of transport.

Her vision is to contribute toward a green economy by developing batteries that use abundant and widely available materials designed to be recycled.

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Professor Margadonna, said: “It is a great honour to be named as one of this year’s Top 50 Women in Engineering: Inventors and Innovators by WES.

“Innovation in engineering is fundamental in finding solutions to the global net-zero challenge, and these awards highlight the substantial impact women in engineering are making to achieve a more sustainable and fair society.”

WES received an extremely high standard of nominations this year, resulting in 100 Highly Commended Finalists, such as Swansea University’s Professor Cinzia Giannetti.

Professor Cinzia Giannetti (Image: Swansea University)

Through her research, Professor Giannetti, Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, explores novel Machine Learning (ML) techniques and develops innovative toolkits to stimulate effective adoption and integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ML in industry.

Professor Giannetti works closely with industrial partners to help increase the digitalisation of their processes, improving the quality of products, reducing wastage and unnecessary costs, and contributing to sustainable manufacturing systems.

Professor Giannetti, said: “I am delighted to be named one of the top 100 Highly Commended Finalists in the WE50 awards.

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“Working in engineering, both research and teaching, is a rewarding career as it allows us to make positive changes to our society by developing innovative technologies and tools.

“I am grateful to play a part in tackling global challenges such as climate change, developing cleaner processing technologies and forming new opportunities for more sustainable and equitable futures.

“As an educator, I am passionate about creating and building an inclusive community to ensure we have a large pool of talents from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in engineering. Only by doing this can we innovate responsibly and create solutions that can bring real societal benefits.”

WES will be holding an awards ceremony on Friday 24 June 2022.

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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Carmarthen

Carmarthen’s Richmond Park School celebrates becoming a School of Sanctuary

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Richmond Park School in Carmarthen is the first school in Carmarthenshire to achieve School of Sanctuary status.

The school has been recognised for all its good work in creating a culture of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seeking and refugee families.

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It joins a national network of over 300 primary and secondary schools all committed to

to supporting the thousands of young people seeking sanctuary in the UK, raising awareness of the issues facing people in asylum, challenging misconceptions and building social cohesion.

Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Cllr Glynog Davies and Director of Education and Children’s Services Gareth Morgans visited the school during Refugee Week 2022 to celebrate the achievement.

Cllr Davies said: “People have been responding to the ongoing refugee crisis in towns and villages across Wales, setting up schemes which offer support and welcome. Over the past few years, we have welcomed new arrivals from Syria, Afghanistan and now the Ukraine underlining the importance of initiatives such as School of Sanctuary.

“Schools play a crucial role in helping young people to make sense of the world, to become responsible citizens and to create positive change in their communities.

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“Richmond Park have done a wonderful job in achieving this award and have set the bar high. We hope many other schools in Carmarthenshire will also begin their journeys towards this prestigious award.”

The awarding panel was impressed with how brilliantly and articulately the children from Richmond Park spoke about their school, their experiences of being new arrivals and all the wonderful things they do to welcome and include everyone.

The school’s Cymuned Croeso student council is made up of students who have transitioned to the school who help to shape the school’s policy around welcoming newcomers; and Richmond Park’s sanctuary barn – known as Noddfa Iaith – offers a designated area of sanctuary, a place for quiet reflection filled with messages of positivity.

The panel were also impressed by how the school is promoting multilingualism through the use of Giglets/Flash Academy, Online FlipGrid creating a multilingual exchange space throughout Carmarthenshire, multilingual staff, and students trained as interpreters.

Schools of Sanctuary co-ordinator Megan Greenwood said: “As the first school in Carmarthenshire to go through the process, we have been particularly impressed with how self-driven the school has been and its efforts and activities are all the more impressive and innovative.

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“We feel that the school has taken opportunities to properly engage with the whole school community and has evidenced various novel efforts and activities that reflect best practice in building sanctuary in school.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Sketty

Agreement on new Singleton Park lighting will keep students safe say Student Union

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An agreement has been reached between Swansea University Students’ Union, Swansea University, and Swansea Council to install more lighting in Singleton Park.

This comes after students have raised concerns over safety and the ability to see their surroundings while walking through the park.

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The Students’ Union and University have agreed to joint-fund the installation of the new lighting which will run along the southward walkway towards the beach.

As part of the work, an ecological survey has been conducted and approval given to the project.

Work will begin on the new lighting this June and is estimated to be completed by the end of July.

Student Union Welfare Officer, Liza Leibowitz, said: “This is excellent news for Swansea University students and the local community too. I’m so pleased that after years of continued student feedback, we have managed to reach this agreement.

“These new lights will provide an added level of safety assurance for students and our local neighbours.

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“I’d like to thank the work of SU Officers past and present for their work over the years on delivering this project, and the students for giving us the feedback that has allowed us to reach this point.

“Swansea Council have also been extremely helpful, they’ve done all the groundwork and supported us tremendously. They’ve ensured the lighting is environmentally friendly and won’t impact the eco system in the park which is great.

“I hope the new lighting will provide an added level of reassurance for students while they are a part of our community.”

Greg Ducie, Director of Estates and Campus Services at Swansea University said: “The safety of our community is our utmost priority and we are really pleased this project to light up a portion of the park is coming to fruition.

“The improved lighting will support the safety measures we have put in place, including safety app Safezone, to ensure our students and staff can enjoy the outstanding experience we offer here at Swansea, both on and off campus”.

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