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Venturing Out from Merthyr Tydfil
Service users from the Venture Out Programme in Merthyr Tydfil took part in both a challenging 5 day residential in partnership with Coleg Harlech. The residential, staying at Crown Lodge, included a walk up to the summit of Snowdon, Coast Steering on the cliffs of Anglesey, a night camping in a Mongolian Yurt, a visit to the alternative energy centre in Machynlleth, and a Digital Photography Day.
Student comments of their experiences on the course demonstrate that it was a worthwhile experience and a great success:
Susan, “I felt the course gave my confidence a massive boost. I was unable to go out and became very nervous around people, I had a fantastic week and I have had a tremendous amount of support from all the staff at Coleg Harlech and the Venture Out Programme ”.
Coordinator Martyn Humphreys commented “It was a fantastic week of activities and you could see the confidence growing amongst the students as the course progressed, for many of them it has been a life changing experience”
“Coleg Harlech is a fantastic venue situated in the Snowdonia National
Park, there is so much to do and see and the staff were so supportive of the
Ex-student’s warm praise for “invaluable” Coleg Harlech
Wendy Jakeman is living proof that a challenging start in life is no bar to going on to achieve your dreams.
Despite being in care as a teenager and then bringing up four children, 50-year-old Wendy Jakeman, from Llangybi, near Pwllheli, is being hailed a role model for people who want a second chance at education.
Wendy successfully completed the one-year-old residential social science course at Coleg Harlech, and went on to obtain a first-class BA in sociology at Bangor University.
She is about to study for a post-graduate certificate in education which she hopes will be her passport to a career as a further education tutor.
“The level of tutors here is fantastic, they really are good mentors. They push you to bring out your best abilities. There’s masses of support here.”
1st for ex student Rob
Congratulations to Rob Patterson who studied Social Studies at Coleg Harlech in 2008 and has recently successfully completed a BA(Hons) Humanistic Counselling Practice (First Class) certificate at Nottingham University.
Rob said "This would not have been possible if I had not received such a good grounding at Coleg Harlech and I shall be eternally grateful to my tutors there. I remember they told me at our last meeting that I could achieve a first...this stayed with me throughout my three years and I am very happy that that is exactly what I achieved."
During my three years I have gained clinical hours working at Nottingham Counselling Service and volunteering with Cruse Bereavement Care. I have found something that I love doing and that means a great deal to me.I am currently working towards accreditation with BACP[British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy].
More about Rob and his time at Coleg Harlech
Top film award for music man Andrew
music student turned film producer to create the short film which saw him honoured
for outstanding achievement at his college awards day. Andrew Simpson, 33, of
Llandrindod Wells, has just completed a one-year residential Music Technology
course at Coleg Harlech.
He picked up the coveted Silyn Roberts Award for Significant Achievement at the college's annual presentation day in Harlech.
The stunning piece of work – described by tutors as one of the best ever produced on the course – is a five-minute film, which reflects Andrew’s many talents.
It was produced – with fellow music technology students appearing as
extras – earlier this year and saw Andrew writing, directing, arranging
the location, playing the soundtrack and even building the props.
The film 'Iron Ring' can be viewed on YouTube
“Doing the course at Coleg Harlech has been a great experience and has given me the skills I’ll need to fulfil my dream of running my own studios" says Andrew
Student praises Coleg Harlech as “beacon of light and hope”
A successful mature student made a heartfelt plea for the true value of education to be recognised as he bade a fond farewell to the college he described as a “beacon of light and hope”.
Ronnie Parry, 42, from Ruthin, has just completed the one-year residential Music Technology course at Coleg Harlech and was invited to play guitar and sing at the annual awards presentation day.
After leaving school Ronnie did a range of jobs, including spells as a reporter on the Flintshire Chronicle and the Southport Visitor, and has also worked in places as diverse as local government and industry.
His ambition is to become a teacher, ideally of music, so when he saw what the music technology course at Coleg Harlech offered he knew it was just what he was looking for to enable him to take the first step on the ladder to achieving his dream.
He said: “I started on the course last September and we have since covered all aspects of music from studio recording to music theory, which was what I found particularly interesting.
“There were also essential skills such as video and radio production
as well as instruction on promoting your own work.
“I now have a place at Glyndwr University in Wrexham where I will start a teacher training part-time course in September.
Mum of three swaps cafe culture for TV studio at Coleg Harlech
A mother of three who felt there had to be more to life than catering, is working at the cutting edge of creative technology.
Thanks to Coleg Harlech’s exciting new course, Elizabeth Hutchinson, will even have access to a state of the art TV studio.
At 48, Elizabeth describes herself as a “very mature” student on the college’s creative technologies course and is delighted to be doing homework alongside her three children, aged between 10 and 17.
Creative Technologies Tutor, Chris Headleand said "This is the most exciting time ever to be involved in creative technologies. We are probably the only FE college in Wales to have a stand alone TV studio"
Former RAF man flying high in new career thanks to Coleg Harlech
A former Coleg Harlech WEA student revealed he would never have made it to University without the college’s help.
Thirty year old Tim Sims, from Pwllheli, completed an Access to Nursing course at the college between 2010 and 2011.
He said: “It was a brilliant course, the whole package was great and the support was there from the beginning until the end. The resources are excellent and Coleg Harlech made the transition from them to University very easy.”
After completing the course, the father-of-two was accepted by Glyndwr University in Wrexham to study for a Degree in Nursing. He wants to specialise as a psychiatric nurse and has carried out a number of work placements in North West Wales.
Home is where the yurt is for sound artist John
A yurt overlooking the expanse of Cardigan Bay is the blank canvas for a remarkable sonic artist this week. John Redhead is living in the 16 foot diameter traditional Mongolian-style dwelling at Coleg Harlech for four days and recording the experience for a soundscape production.
Whilst at Coleg Harlech John is talking to learners about his work in terms of the opportunities and risks in enterprise, specifically in new starts-ups, building closer links to industry and inspiring them to start up new media companies here in Wales
Star DJ inspire music students
One of the world's top DJs took time out of his hectic club schedule to help four students from Merthyr Tydfil take their first steps towards a dream career in the music industry.
Sonny Wharton, who has performed all over the world in front of thousands of
people, dropped in to Coleg Harlech to meet with students on the music technology
Among them were four friends, Josh Palmer, Jordan Williams, Josh Evans and Nathan Robertshaw.
Nathan, 21, who has been ‘obsessed’ with playing the decks since he was lent a pair as a young teenager, was bowled over meeting Sonny who is one of his DJ idols.
Donna reaches for stars with Strictly's dancing astrologer Russell Grant
Strictly Come Dancing's toe tapping astrologer, Russell Grant, is helping a talented young singer reach for the stars.
Former Coleg Harlech student Donna Lea Morris was picked by the TV personality to take the lead role in one of this show-stopping theatre productions.
The musical, Bliss, had the audience dancing in the aisles at Theatr Harlech.Since then Russell has become a valuable and much loved mentor to Donna, from Barmouth.
Thanks to him and the course she took in Music Technology at Coleg Harlech, she is heading off to Chester University.
“I have Russell Grant on my Facebook page as a friend, that wouldn’t have happened before Coleg Harlech,” she laughed.
“When we were doing Bliss he was amazing, he brought us out of our shells with the acting because he was directing.”
Minna’s stunning fashion items are run up from rags and pond liner
A talented young fashion student will see her eco-friendly clothing and accessories go on sale at a ‘Green Shop’ at the college where she has just graduated.
Minna Watson uses recycled material that even charity shops have rejected to create stylish garments.
The 21-year-old from Cwmpennant, near Porthmadog, has gained a foundation certificate in the Visual Arts from Coleg Harlech and hopes to go on to university to study fashion and textiles.
Jim overcomes eyesight problems to make a musical video of his home town
Jim O’Rourke may be registered as partially sighted but he has a very clear view of his home town.
His five minute video showing the delights of Barmouth have so impressed his college tutor at Coleg Harlech, he believes the local tourist board should take a look.
Jim, 32, has taken advantage of a second chance educational course in music
technology at Coleg Harlech. The Workers’ Educational Association college,
which offers adults the chance to study without the need for formal qualifications,
provided the confidence for Jim to continue his passion for music.
The two degrees – double first for mum and son
A mum and son from Harlech have done a degree double as both have graduated with First Class Honours at Bangor University.
Michelle Deeman, from Heol y Bryn, resumed her place at the university after a ten-year gap while she brought up her family.
The 44-year-old made it back to the university thanks to a foundation course in social studies she took at Coleg Harlech.
Mum and son, Cydney, have now both gained first class honours degrees at Bangor,
Michelle in Health and Social Care and her son in Sociology and Criminology.
Second chance at stardom for talented rapper Clayton
A budding rap artist from Pontypridd has had a second chance at stardom thanks to one of Wales’s oldest learning institutions.
It’s a long way from the valley of South Wales to the Gwynedd coast and the fortress town of Harlech but 25-year-old Clayton Georges made the trip in his search for a new start.
He enrolled at adult learning college Coleg Harlech Workers Educational Association.nine months ago.
Now Clayton, from Glyncoch, Pontypridd, has a brand new CD, a brand new qualification
in Music Technology and a hoped-for place at university this September.
Deaf DJ Jamie is an inspiration
For someone who is 90% deaf a career in radio would not be an obvious choice.
But Jamie Griffiths has achieved his life-long ambition thanks to Coleg Harlech Workers Educational Association.
Failed by the conventional education system, Jamie, 39, of Queensferry, rasped the second chance opportunity with both hands.
He successfully completed the music technology course at the Coleg Harlech
residential college in the historic castle town.
It gave him the skills and confidence which have secured him his own radio show on community radio, Calon FM in Wrexham
30 years after leaving school mum of two Davina is off to university
A mum from Wrexham who suffers from dyslexia is getting set for university – 30 years after she left school.
Davina Jones from Hightown will start a three-year BA Honours degree course in Health and Social Care at Bangor University this autumn – after gaining a prestigious award from Coleg Harlech.
The 47-year-old, who left school at 16 with few qualifications and who has two grown-up sons, didn’t even know she was dyslexic until she was diagnosed at the college.
But she has made up for lost time since last September and was presented with
the Silyn Roberts Award for excellence in gaining a Foundation Certificate in
Access to Nursing at the college’s graduation ceremony
From shelf stacker to top radio DJ
After eight years stacking supermarket shelves, Craig Kennealey knew there had to be more to life.
There was...and now he presents what is billed as the biggest afternoon radio show on the North Wales coast.
His break came after a second chance educational course at Coleg Harlech Workers Educational Association.
The organisation offers adults without formal qualifications the chance to
study either at their college in the historic castle town or at the courses
they run right across North Wales
Grateful mum’s tribute to college that transformed her ‘Bart Simpson’ son
A grateful mum has paid tribute to the college which she says has turned her son’s life round.
Polly Ferguson has praised Coleg Harlech after she said it turned her son, Arthur, from Bart Simpson into BA material with a place at Cardiff University this September.
Proud Polly, from Canton, in Cardiff, was there to see her son being presented with one of the college’s top awards she said: “He left school at 16 with almost no qualifications after modelling himself on Bart Simpson – he did well as Bart Simpson but didn’t get many GCSEs.
Arthur Ferguson-Thorne, 21, received the Thomas Jones Award for Excellence
in Social Studies as well as a University of Wales Foundation Certificate at
Coleg Harlech’s graduation ceremony.