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Education

Skills competition success for band

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Doing right: The Bluestones

Doing right: The Bluestones

A STUDENT band called The Bluestones from Llanelli has won gold in the Popular Music final of a national skills competition.

Skills Competition Wales is a Welsh Government-backed series of events designed to celebrate vocational skills and create a highly skilled Welsh workforce for the future.

With Olympic athletes training hard for the imminent games in Rio, Laura Mitchell, 17; Katie-Ann Hedge, 16; Quillan Thomas, 18, and 18 year old Thomas Westerholme, are just four of 78 Welsh youngsters who have been perfecting their skills in a bid to win a medal. Across a range of vocations from graphic design to patisserie, these budding skilled champions, like Olympians, may go on to challenge competitors from other nations.

Laura, Katie, Quillan and Thomas, from Coleg Sir Gâr, competed against 25 other students from across Wales. The bands completed against each other by performing two songs on stage in front of a panel of judges. The band said they are thrilled to have won.

Laura said: “We’re really excited to have won, especially against so many other talented musicians. It’s been a real challenge finding time to keep practicing whilst we’re all studying at college, but our tutors encouraged us to form the band and have been really supportive throughout the competition.

“We performed ‘Do Right’ by Peggy Lee and ‘Back to Black’ by Amy Winehouse. It was great fun to perform and winning has given us all a confidence boost to pursue careers in music.”

Skills Competition Wales forms part of the Welsh Government’s Growth and Sustainable Jobs Programme, designed to promote the importance of vocational skills with the aim of boosting the overall skill capabilities and prosperity of Wales.

The campaign, supported by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Government, and run by a network of colleges and work based learning providers, a total of 33 local skills competitions will be taking place between February and April, in a range of sectors from forensic science and car mechanics to web design and nail art.

The band may go forward to represent Coleg Sir Gar in the Popular Music Worldskills UK heat, with the aim of potentially representing Team Wales at this year’s Skills Show in Birmingham in November.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James AM said: “Year on year the level of talent at Skills Competition Wales keeps on improving. These events encourage healthy competition and are a great way of recognising the fantastic talent that we have in our country.

“Colleges and work-based learning providers across Wales are already involved in the Skills Competition Wales initiative and have played a huge part in organising the heats and finals, but we’re keen to see more Welsh businesses support their talented young employees and encourage them to enter.”

The Deputy Minister added: “It takes a lot of hard work to get to the final round but to win gold is a fantastic achievement. It is clear that all the competitors are extremely passionate and determined to be named the best in Wales.

“I wish The Bluestones and all the other finalists and winners the very best of luck, not only in the next round of the competitions, but also in their future careers.”

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Education

Ceredigion pupils receive Holocaust survivor experiences

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To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Ceredigion pupils had the opportunity to hear the story of a Holocaust survivor.

On 27 January 2020, it was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dr Martin Stern MBE was five years old when he was arrested at his school.

His journey was a difficult one being close to death on a few occasions. Dr Stern moved to Britain in 1950 and became a Doctor. These days, Dr Stern is educating young people about what happened. On 29 January 2020, he came to Aberaeron to talk to a hall full of Ceredigion’s young people.

Meinir Ebbsworth, Corporate Lead Officer for Schools said, “75 years ago, the world saw images of people coming out of the camps and coming to terms with what had happened. We are so grateful to Dr Martin Stern for coming to Ceredigion to share his story and experiences. It is not easy to talk about a very dark time in the world’s history. I hope our pupils have considered what we had heard. Due to the overwhelming silence in the room when Dr Stern was speaking, I think they really appreciated the afternoon.”

The afternoon was jointly organised by Ceredigion County Council’s schools service and ERW.

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Education

Bronze-medal winning hairdresser on the road to Shanghai

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Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HCT) continue to lead the way in skills competitions across the UK. The latest success story is Bayley Harris, who recently qualified as a Level 2 hairdresser at HCT.

After succeeding in demanding regional and national qualifying rounds, Bayley earned a spot in the grand final of the WorldSkills UK competition which was held from 21 to 23 November 2019 at the NEC in Birmingham.

The competition took place over three full days, with Bayley having to compete in five different categories including dressing long hair, cutting, colouring, bridal hair and barbering. She finished in third place out of a total of ten top-class hairdressers, earning her the bronze medal in the awards ceremony.

As a result of her outstanding performance, Bayley has been selected for the Squad UK for the prestigious international WorldSkills Competition which will take place in Shanghai, China in 2021.

HCT hairdressing tutor Carys Randell, congratulated Bayley for doing so well in the competitions, as they were very intense and of an extremely high standard. She went on to add, “I am so proud of Bayley for coming third in the UK, and I look forward to supporting her on her next journey in Squad UK.”

The WorldSkills competition in Shanghai will feature over 1000 of the world’s most talented apprentices and students competing in over 50 different skills as they battle it out to be named the World Champion in their respective vocation.

Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services and Life-long learning. She said, “It’s great to follow Bayley’s journey within the hairdressing industry. This latest award is a credit to her. Bayley shows where you can reach if you put your mind to work with the support of Ceredigion Training. Good luck in the UK Squad.”

All staff and learners at HCT would like to congratulate Bayley in her most recent competition success and wish her all the best in her bid to represent the UK in China in 2021.

Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HCT) offers a range of vocational courses for people of all ages, including Hairdressing, Childcare, Business Administration, Information Technology, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrics, Blacksmithing, Motor Mechanics, and Welding. For more information, find HCT on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HyfforddiantCeredigion, or visit the website: http://www.ceredigiontraining.co.uk/hafan.

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Education

New student guide to recycling launched

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A new student guide on recycling has been launched on Ceredigion County Council’s website.

The guide, aimed at students living in Aberystwyth, provides information on what can be recycled, top tips and how to make the most out of the new waste collection service. The guide raises awareness of the importance of recycling and aims to help improve recycling rates.

To coincide with the guide, a survey is being run for Aberystwyth students who live in private accommodation, to seek their views on recycling and to find out what their current waste disposal habits are. Findings of the survey will be used as part of a wider project looking at behaviour change in recycling, funded by the Welsh Government.

Participants completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw. The prizes, which have been kindly donated, range from a month’s free pass to the Cerdigion Actif swimming pool or gym at Plascrug Leisure Centre, Aberystwyth-branded merchandise from Aberystwyth’s Student Union shop, a group pass to one of Advancing Aberystwyth’s ‘Aber Fflics’ outdoor cinema experiences and an afternoon tea for two at the Coliseum Coffee House at Ceredigion Museum.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet member who has responsibility for Highways and Environmental and Housing Services said, “The new student guide will help make sure that students have got the essential information needed to make full use of the recycling services that are available to them here in Ceredigion. Due to the recent changes to our service, now is an ideal time to raise awareness of how easy it has become to recycle and to reduce the amount of recyclable items thrown needlessly in a black bin bag.

“For many students living in private accommodation, it may be the first time that they’re experiencing living independently and sharing the responsibility for dealing with the waste that they’re producing. This, teamed with the understanding that every Council in the UK differs in the way that they deal with waste, is why we’re currently focusing on our student population in Aberystwyth as they may be used to dealing with waste in an entirely different way.

“We’d like to find out their views on recycling and waste behaviours and to identify and overcome any issues they may be facing. So, if you’re an Aberystwyth student currently living in private accommodation we’d love to hear from you. The survey takes less than two minutes to complete with a chance to win a prize”

The students’ survey can be found here: http://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/StudentSurveyOnRecycling

Aber students’ guide to recycling can be found here: “https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/media/1068/aber-student-s-guide-to-recycling-2020.pdf

For the latest information on Ceredigion’s waste collection services, including the new postcode search go to: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/recycling

The survey is for Aberystwyth students who live in private accommodation only and is open until 02 March 2020. Winners of the prizes from the survey will be announced in March.

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