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University retains Fairtrade Status

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Delighted: Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice Chancellor UWTSD

Delighted: Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice Chancellor UWTSD

THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY SAINT DAVID (UWTSD) has retained its status as a Fairtrade University by making a strong commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade produce across its campuses.

This commitment is part of the university’s overall dedication to sustainability, including its pledge to supporting local producers.

In order to achieve this important title, universities have to ensure that as many Fairtrade products as possible, including food, drink and clothing, are available in as many places as possible in and around their campuses.

Increasing the use and sales of Fairtrade products among students, staff and visitors can have a huge impact for producers and their communities.

Increased usage also raises the awareness of Fairtrade and the benefits that it brings to workers and farmers in developing countries.

To achieve Fairtrade status, UWTSD has demonstrated that it has achieved five key goals, including instating a formal Fairtrade policy; ensuring that Fairtrade products including food and cotton are made available for sale in all campus shops; ensuring Fairtrade products are served at all meetings and events hosted by the university and the Student Union; arranging campaigns on campus to increase the understanding of Fairtrade and the establishment of a Fairtrade Steering Group.

UWTSD has surpassed these five goals and has clearly demonstrated its dedication to making its Carmarthen, Swansea and Lampeter campuses Fairtrade as part of its overall commitment to sustainable development.

“We’re delighted that UWTSD has retained its status as a Fairtrade University and that the feedback we received from the assessors was so positive,” said Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice Chancellor for External Engagement and Director of INSPIRE (Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness).

“Sustainable development is about making better decisions using long term values; it’s about thinking about the impacts of today’s actions on future generations and learning to live within our environmental limits. It’s also about balancing social, environmental, economic and cultural needs in a way that does not compromise future generations. Fairtrade is a great example of this and we, as a university, are pleased that we can help promote and encourage the use of Fairtrade produce.

“This is something UWTSD takes very seriously and through work carried out via our Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE), we aim to place sustainability at the centre of its delivery for its curriculum, campuses, communities and culture,” added Dr Davidson.

The success of promoting Fairtrade is a partnership between the Student Union and the university. In terms of the catering offer, the university’s catering staff work with the student body to ensure a good provision of Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade tea, coffee, and sugar are available at all meetings at UWTSD and the university also sell juices and snacks in its catering outlets, with Fairtrade wine being available at all university events. Catering staff use Fairtrade ingredients in some of their home-made cakes, too.

UWTSD also arranges a range of events and initiatives for students and staff to further promote its commitment to Fairtrade. These have included Fairtrade Fortnight events; a Big Breakfast ‘Sit Down for Breakfast, Stand up for Farmers’ event, where the university worked with local producers; free bananas given away in the gym; hamper draws; Valentine biscuits; Mothering Sunday cakes and Shrove Tuesday celebrations.

As part of the INSPIRE Directorate, UWTSD also has three Fairtrade Student interns – one for each main university campus – with part of their role being to help promote the use of Fairtrade products and to engage with students to raise awareness of the reasons why staff and students should support the use of Fairtrade products.

The feedback UWTSD received from Fairtrade on each of the five goals was incredibly positive.

“Congratulations! We are delighted to renew your Fairtrade Status and thank you for your continuing hard work and support,” said Chrysi Dimaki, Campaigns Coordinator at Fairtrade.

“The University of Wales Trinity Saint David is clearly committed to Fairtrade, and this shows in your success in upholding and surpassing the five goals. Well done – we look forward to seeing how your campaign develops and what activities you have planned in the coming year,” she added.

Tom Defis, Chair of the Carmarthenshire Fairtrade Group, is also delighted that UWTSD has retained and reinforced its status as a Fairtrade University: “The Carmarthenshire Fairtrade Group is delighted to note the successful outcome of University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s recent application for renewed Fairtrade status,” he said.

“As one of the region’s leading providers of Higher Education, UWTSD plays a key role in shaping the leaders of the future and we believe that promoting Fairtrade is an important aspect of that wide-ranging transformative provision.”

Over the last few years, UWTSD has been awarded a number of accolades linked to sustainability, including winning a First Class Award and being ranked 8th out of 151 universities across the UK and first in Wales in the People and Planet University League 2015; being the first university in the UK to achieve a Food for Life Gold Catering Mark from the Soil Association for its banqueting and events services across all campuses and winning three awards in the 2015 Green Gown Awards.”

UWTSD has also been nominated in two categories in this year’s ceremony.

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Education

Poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live

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Dr Siu-Ting: Specialises in amphibians

​ABERYSTYWTH UNIVERISTY​ scientist Dr Karen Siu-Ting discuss​ed poison arrow frogs at New Scientist Live ​last Thursday ​(Sept ​28​).

Dr Siu-Ting is an IRC ELEVATE-MSCA Co-fund Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.

Her research into poison arrow frogs feature​d​ as part of ‘Ask a Biologist’​,​ hosted by The Royal Society of Biology.

An evolutionary biologist from Peru,​​ Dr Siu-Ting specialises in amphibians and combines field work in the Amazon rainforest with laboratory and computational analyses to address biological questions.

She is currently working on a project on poison arrow frogs between Aberystwyth University and Dublin City University.

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Education

Apply for six-month traineeship scheme

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Applications open: Join the National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme

​IF YOU’D like to earn as you learn hands-on skills to prepare you for a career in practical conservation or estate management, apply now for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Skills in Action traineeship scheme.

The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future scheme, will provide two six-month salaried apprenticeships with the National Park Authority’s Ranger and Warden Teams.

Skills in Action Project Coordinator for Pembrokeshire Coast Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Tom Iggleden said: “The successful candidates will be learning the skills and experience that are essential to be successful in obtaining employment within a highly competitive sector.

“The main duties of the placement will include practical hands-on work-based experience in conservation and estate management.”

The six month traineeship will see the successful applicants learn a wide variety of skills including traditional hedgelaying and modern conservation methods that are essential to the work of the National Park Authority.

This is an extension to the original three-year project which has helped many of the 15 previous trainees gain employment​.​

The closing date for applications is October 2​4 with interviews to be held on November​ 6​.

Application packs are available from the National Park Authority’s website ​at​www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/jobs or by contacting contact Joanne Morgan by calling 01646 624856 or by emailing joannem@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

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Education

Committee concerned at £12.7m error

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ALN Bill: Savings turn into costs

​A £12.7M alteration to the cost of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill has been described as concerning by a National Assembly for Wales committee.

In the original figures submitted alongside the Bill the Welsh Government identified savings of £4.8m over a period of four years if the Bill was passed.

But the estimates were challenged by children’s charity SNAP Cymru which claimed the Welsh Government had misinterpreted figures it had provided concerning disputes and resolution services. The Welsh Government admitted the error and revised the figures from the original saving to a cost of £7.9m – a difference of £12.7m.

The Finance Committee asked the Welsh Government to delay the financial resolution on the Bill, the mechanism by which government gains support to spend the money enacting the law and the government agreed.

“A £12.7m swing from a saving to a cost is very concerning, as it shows a government which doesn’t fully understand the figures it quotes,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.

“It also throws into doubt any future costs connected to Bills which come before this committee as we are left wondering whether the government has done its sums right.

“We are grateful to SNAP Cymru for highlighting the inaccuracies and acknowledge the steps taken by the Minister subsequently, but we will need further reassurance that such errors will not happen again.”

The Bill’s aim is to improve the quality of support available to children with additional learning needs through a person-centred approach which would identify needs early on and make sure the right support, monitoring and evaluation was put in place to help them.

The Finance Committee welcomed the actions taken by the Welsh Government to address the situation. But Members were concerned and surprised that inaccuracies as significant as this were raised and that SNAP Cymru was not consulted on the final figures before they were published.

The Committee acknowledges that revisions have since been made and the Minister’s assurances that the revised figures are robust, however, it is concerned at the need to have made this level of changes to the original costings.

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