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Driving Wales to international skills success



AS SKILLS CHAMPION for Wales, Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion principal Barry Liles is at the forefront of aspiring young people to develop high quality, world-class skills.

The vehicle used to drive this ambition are skills competitions, which are held on a Welsh, UK and international level.

Competitions in Wales begin with regional Welsh Government supported competitions which are events that culminate to find Wales’ top competitors who progress to take part in UKSkills national and WorldSkills international events.

This year, 36 competitors from the UK are competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, four of which are from Wales, two of which represent Coleg Sir Gâr, which is an impressive percentage of UK representation. These competitors have undergone a rigorous training process by WorldSkills UK, supported by training providers and employers.

Coleg Sir Gâr students have been selected for Team UK since 2009 when carpentry student Cliff Williams made the team in 2009 competing in WorldSkills Calgary. He was followed by web designer David Bowen who competed for in WorldSkills London, 2011. Carpenter Gareth Jones won gold in EuroSkills in 2012 followed by Simon McCall and Eleni Constantinou who won two silvers at EuroSkills in 2014 for hairdressing and carpentry with Eleni progressing to represent the UK and Coleg Sir Gâr in hairdressing at WorldSkills, Sao Paulo in 2015.

Last year, the college was ranked joint third place in the UK for its medal success in the Skills Show – the UK final, for achieving three golds, one silver and one bronze award. The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC every year, brings together medal winners from all nations to compete and showcase their skills and to hopefully continue their journey to the international arena, representing the UK in Worldskills which brings over 50 competing countries together and is likened to the Olympic games.

Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales said: “To have an impact on the economy and raise Wales and UK’s GVA, we must raise the skills of the UK population and we’re trying to do this from a young age and we’re significantly targeting industries that are important to Wales’ economy.

“The anticipated result is hoped to impact on young people and help them raise their ambitions and to find highly skilled work.”

In Wales, to help achieve this ambition, is a Welsh-Government funded project called Inspiring Skills Excellence (ISE), which is providing a supportive infrastructure to enable competitors from Wales to achieve success at national and international level.

“Much of our work is supporting competitors across Wales in their participation, training and mentoring to help them achieve excellence in skills relevant to economic growth and delivering medal winning success at national and international competitions,” said Paul Evans, ISE pan-coordinator for Wales.

“Using state of the art equipment we also engage with schools, providing hands-on and exciting experiences for young people to raise awareness of careers and the pathways available to them.”

Barry Liles added: “Being Skills Champion for Wales is a long-held ambition perhaps because I came from a vocational engineering background, I am very passionate about it.

“Industry skills are vital in our economy and I don’t want Wales to be left behind, in fact in the last seven years we have helped drive the nation forward to being one of the leading and successful nations in UK skills competitions.”

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Cardigan charity represented at food poverty launch



THE CARDIGAN-BASED charity Jig-so was represented at the Wales launch by the National Federation of Institutes (NFWI) on the issue of food poverty.

The event hosted by Mid and West AM Simon Thomas in the National Assembly considered some of the key challenges in addressing the issue.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I was very pleased to welcome Jigso to the National Assembly. I think it is important we showcase some of the tremendous work being down in west Wales in our national parliament. I know Jigso has done much over the years to help families understand good nutrition and to help give access to sadly-needed food banks.”

“The WI used the event to launch their food matters campaign around food poverty and access to good food and we need to hear from all parts of Wales.”

This work follows on from the Great Food Debates project, undertaken in 2013, which saw WIs and county federations organise over a hundred food discussion events to consider the issue of food security.

Linda Grace, Chair of Trustees of Jig-So added: “We appreciated Simon Thomas’ invitation to attend this important event which he sponsored on behalf of the Women’s Institute who have a strong and long standing reputation on leading campaigns on “what matters”. Simon is a long time supporter of Jig-So’s work and our work on alleviating food poverty. A strong advocate of supporting community groups and small third sector bodies with an awareness of the rural context.”

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Police say safeguarding children is ‘everybody’s business’



DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging people to speak out if they spot signs of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children in their community.

Sunday, March 18, is the national awareness day for Child Sexual Exploitation led by the charity National Working Group.

Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, background or gender.

To support this day, all this week officers and staff from the force’s child sexual exploitation investigators team, Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), school officers and frontline officers have been targeting suspects and children identified as potential victims as well as visiting hotspot areas, schools and groups to encourage the public to think, spot and speak out about child sexual exploitation.

Dyfed-Powys police will be supporting the campaign through social media. Look out for the hashtags on Twitter: #CSE #CSEDay18 #HelpingHands.

Child Sexual Exploitation Coordinator for Dyfed-Powys Police, Linda Elias, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business and is happening in our communities. This is not an issue isolated to more urban areas of the UK, we know it is happening locally and we are working hard to identify and protect those children who are vulnerable and also deal with the adults who are taking advantage of children.

“We have police officers trained to recognise the early signs of CSE that can identify children at risk, but we all have a role to play in ensuring our children are safe. Please, if you suspect someone in your family, social group of wider community is being exploited by any adult report it immediately to police by calling 101.

“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and members of the community including hoteliers, restaurant owners, community shops or youth facility leaders, are urged to speak out if they see when someone or something suspicious.

“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.”

Regional Dyfed-Powys SchoolBeat Programme Manager, Bethan James, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of CSE with our children and the staff working in our schools. Designated school officers have been trained to deliver these sessions. School Community Police are delivering targeted age appropriate CSE sessions in schools as part of the wider SchoolBeat Cymru Programme.

They have the current, up to date knowledge and understanding in order to inform, prevent and protect our children.”

Detective Sergeant at the Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), Mathew Davies, said: “Our team of specialist staff and officers, consisting of  Detectives, Digital Media Investigators, Forensic Examiners and analytical staff, are targeting those who exploit children, carrying out warrants across the whole Dyfed-Powys force area. The work of POLIT is helping to speed up the investigation of offences and bring more offenders to justice.”

Nichola Rance, Coordinator for witness and victim service Goleudy, said: “Sadly, it is a fact that CSE is occurring in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys. I fully support the national CSE awareness day as it helps to raise awareness of abuse of children that should not be ignored. I would urge anyone who has witnessed CSE or is a victim of CSE to contact Goleudy for support. We are an independent service for victims and witnesses of crime and we have highly skilled advisors who can listen and support people through distressing times in their lives.”

Spot the signs of CSE:

  • Being secretive
  • He or she stops engaging with their usual friends
  • Associating with older men or women
  • Going missing
  • Being defensive about where they are and what they are doing
  • Receiving odd calls or messages
  • Possessing new, expensive items that they may have received as gifts

To report CSE in your community call 101 today.

For support from Goleudy, call  0300 1232996, email, or visit

For more information on CSE Awareness Day visit:

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Seven-week-old puppy dumped in garden



RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a seven-week-old puppy was found dumped in a shoebox.

The young Staffordshire bull terrier type pup – who has now been named Molly – was found in a garden at Bro Llethi, Llanarth, on Monday (March 12).

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This small defenceless puppy has been callously abandoned on her own in a shoebox. The caller very kindly took care of the puppy until we arrived. It is believed she was dumped between the hours of 3pm and 6pm on Monday.

“She was taken to a vet for an assessment and has a fracture growth plate injury on her leg which must be uncomfortable for her so will require treatment. However, she’s doing okay despite her ordeal and is now safe in RSPCA care. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”

The animal welfare charity is now appealing for information to try and find out who abandoned this dog.
RSPCA inspector Hobgen added: “It is just so sad that someone felt that they had no option other than to leave this poor pup out in the cold on her own.

“If anyone has any information about this incident we urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.

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