Politicians praise ‘Can of Worms’ art initiative
An innovative art project helping people of all ages make friends, gain confidence and discover hidden talents has been praised by leading local politicians who visited an exhibition of work organised by the ‘Can of Worms’ art initiative last week.
Mark Isherwood AM and Mark Tami MP were among the visitors at the ‘Can of Worms’ exhibition at Llys Eleanor Extra Care Scheme in Shotton which featured work by tenants and residents of nine Supported Living Schemes managed by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association across North Wales and both said they were impressed with the creative talent on show.
As well as work from tenants at Llys Eleanor, an Extra Care Scheme for the over 60s the exhibition also featured work from eight Supported Living schemes for former homeless young people and adults also managed by Clwyd Alyn.
Sarah O’Connell Jones, manager for WEA Cymru, explained “the Can of Worms project is funded by the Arts Council of Wales and led by WEA Cymru. The project has given us the opportunity to provide 15 courses of accredited art classes in 8 Clwyd Alyn supported housing projects and 1 extra care scheme to create artwork along the themes of Discrimination and Identity. I am very proud to see the end results of this exciting project”
Senior Management Team announced
CEO, Maggi Dawson, announced that the Senior Management Team has been appointed, congratulations to the following on their appointments
Director of Curriculum and Welsh Language - Lynda Jones
Director of Finance – Mark Baines
Head of Innovation – Caron Williams
Director of Quality, Learner Support and Voluntary Movement – Sharon Reader
Head of Human Resources and Workforce Development – Job share Cath Hicks and Suzanne Morris
Minister praises newly formed WEA Cymru for its vision,
drive and breadth of community links
The Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis, launched the Workers’ Educational Association Cymru on 14.1.14 at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.
He described the launch as “an important landmark (which) heralds an exciting future for adult education and training throughout Wales”. He said that the merger “provides an opportunity to enhance teaching and learning in the community and creates a viable All Wales adult education and skills organisation, whilst retaining and strengthening the internationally recognised WEA brand”.
He talked of the proud and celebrated history of both organisations in delivering adult education in the community and of their shared ethos of providing “second chance” learning to change lives, “characteristics which closely attune with Welsh Government policy”.
He stated that he saw the birth of WEA Cymru as “moving us to the next chapter and ensuring the traditions of equity, social justice and fairness that are at the heart of both organisations, are hardwired into the new and financially sustainable body we now have”.
He did not shy away from mentioning the challenges ahead in terms of tight financial constraints but stated that “Working with local authorities, colleges, universities, employers, trade unions, the TUC, churches and faith groups, voluntary and community organisations in the spirit of social partnership which is embedded in the DNA of both organisations, I know that WEA Cymru will continue to deliver the quality adult learning our learners need across Wales.
No other provider of Adult Community Learning can lay claim to such a breadth of community links”
We are delighted to be able to confirm that the WEA Cymru Shadow Board, which met this morning, has authorised the formal merger of CHWEAN and WEA South Wales. The full merger occurred, in legal terms, at midday today (10th January 2014).
Maggi Dawson appointed as CEO of WEA Cymru
Rob Humphreys, Chair of the Shadow Board of Governors announced "I am very pleased to inform you that Maggi Dawson has been appointed CEO Designate of WEA Cymru.
Maggi will be the CEO of the new organisation when it comes into being on 1 January 2014. Until that time she will be working closely with the Shadow Board and colleagues from CHWEAN and WEAS to ensure that the merger takes place effectively and that provision for our learners across the whole of Wales is maintained. Her role as CEO Designate carries with it the full authority of the Shadow Board regarding leadership and executive matters: this in turn includes overseeing the activities of both bodies in the run-up to merger."
Maggi has been involved with adult community learning and community development for over 40 years. She joined WEA South Wales in October 2007 as its first female General Secretary/Chief Executive.
Prior to the WEA, Maggi spent 7 years as Coordinator of the Lifelong Learning Service for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, which included responsibility for adult community learning, work-based learning, community development, 22 community centres, the statutory youth service and the business team. Before that, she was the first Wales Development Officer for The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and prior to that worked for 10 years developing 4 community enterprises and an adult education centre in the Upper Amman and Swansea Valleys, for which she received an MBE for services to the community.
Bespoke Training Essential to Dafydd Hardy
Dafydd Hardy is a privately run, independent firm of estate agents, letting agents & chartered surveyors with a network of 5 offices throughout North West Wales.
Director of the company, Dafydd Hardy said “we have high professional standards and pride ourselves on our customer service. I’m very keen to provide training for our staff to ensure they have the right skills to do their jobs. We had identified some gaps in our teams and so approached Coleg Harlech WEA to see what they could offer.
Coleg Harlech WEA were able to provide a bespoke solution, this was very
important as I wanted training that was specific to what we needed rather
than something generic.
This course has been tailored to the individual strengths and weaknesses of our teams so that as a group they can be successful.
Members of staff have been working on presentations about their day to
day roles which I was able to hear today, it was extremely interesting
and prompted some very constructive discussions around setting up standards
we can work to.”
RCN Welsh Cultural Weekend hits the right note
Nurses from around Wales came together recently for an intensive weekend of welsh and culture developed by Coleg Harlech WEA. They enjoyed it so much they didn’t want to go home!
Valerie Bailey RCN Wales, Professional Practice Coordinator explained, “RCN Wales worked in collaboration with Coleg Harlech WEA to provide a bespoke Welsh Cultural weekend for nurses and health care staff at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden.
Tudur Evans, Coleg Harlech WEA, added “It is always a pleasure to work with the RCN, we were happy to develop a residential course around their requirements.
They were keen to encourage health care staff to use welsh with their patients and develop their understanding of welsh culture. The course also included an element of communication skills so we ran a report writing session based on their everyday work.
A residential course like this enables us to pack a lot in whilst having a bit of fun at the same time, evening sessions of story writing, folk dancing and quizzes ensured there was plenty of laughter as well as hard work”.
Coleg Harlech WEA has a depth of experience of working with the trade union movement and building skills which are directly relevant to a specific workplace. To arrange a course simply contact your local union learning rep.
Searching for Public Sector Digital Champions
Coleg Harlech WEA(N) are pleased to be partners supporting the UNISON Cymru Wales project, “DigiSkills Cymru”.
Project Manager, Richard Speight explained “This project is specifically for people working in the Public Sector, the aim is to provide the skills so staff can confidently use digital technologies both within their workplace and in the wider community.”
“In order to support this development we are running practical, fun workshops where staff can learn how to use digital technologies and social media to set up new working practices.”
“We have started to work in partnership with Coleg Harlech WEA to provide some of these sessions in north Wales and I look forward their continued involvement in the future as the project expands.”
Richard added “We also aim to establish Digital Champions in workplaces around Wales and support them to set up community hubs so they can share their skills with others.”
Coleg Harlech WEA External Funding Manager, Diane Jones said “We are pleased to be able to support this exciting project which fits in well with our aim to improve the employment skills of people working in Wales.”
Coleg Harlech WEA takes up the Essential Skills Challenge
Staff from organisations across Wales come together to take up the challenge of improving the essential skills levels of adults and young people working in Wales.
Coleg Harlech WEA are actively supporting the Essential Skills Wales programme delivering free training for employees who work with adults and young people who may have essential skills needs.
Project Manager Lynda Jones explained “Around 47% of the workforce in Wales have essential skills needs such as literacy, numeracy, communication and ICT. The aim of this programme is to increase the skills of the trainers so they can pass on their knowledge in innovative ways to the people they are supporting in workplaces throughout Wales.”
“As part of the programme Coleg Harlech WEA are offering a level 3 qualification in literacy which is being attended by staff from training providers across Wales including Arfon Dwyfor Training (ADT), North Wales Training and Coleg Llandrillo”.
Vincent Poard, ADT, Essential Skills tutor in South Wales “I had
previously completed the level 2 qualification with the same tutor, James
Berry, and he is part of the reason I have come back for this course.
He is a really good tutor and puts things across in a way that is easy
to understand, you feel that he wants you to do well, its also good to
hear some welsh in the classroom.”
“It’s definitely worth the trip up from South Wales and I would like to go on to the numeracy course afterwards.”
for more information contact Coleg Harlech WEA Development Worker, Cecilia Forsythe, 01686 610270
New Welsh for Adults Manager Appointed
We are pleased to congratulate Eirlys Non Jones on her appointment as Manager of Welsh for Adults at Coleg Harlech WEA.
Eirlys said “I have been a part time tutor for Coleg Harlech WEA for 5 years whilst also running my own translation business, prior to that I was Head of the Welsh Faculty at Ysgol Aberconwy. I am really looking forward to developing our partnerships with other organisations and schools in the area.”
Coleg Harlech WEA offer the Cymraeg i’r Teulu (Welsh for the Family)
courses across North and Mid-Wales, working in conjunction with the North
and Mid Wales Welsh for Adults Centres.
Eirlys explained “The Welsh Assembly are very keen to increase the opportunities for adults to learn the language, the Welsh for the Family course we offer is aimed at supporting this initiative and offers adult beginners the chance to learn in a fun way which reflects how their children are learning in school.
“We also offer Cymraeg o'r Crud (Welsh from the Cradle) courses for parents and babies in partnership with Welsh language project TWF, and Hwyl i'r Teulu, a short taster course for parents of young children.
Both Cymraeg o'r Crud and Hwyl i'r Teulu are delivered in partnership
with primary schools and nurseries, for more information contact Eirlys
on 01492 536693 or for this link to Welsh
courses currently running
Welcome Furniture staff assemble to upgrade their IT skills
Welcome Furniture manufacture bedroom furniture in Caernarfon, employing 150 staff including 15 in the office. When the IT manager, Colin Pearce, was looking to increase the skills of office staff there he contacted Coleg Harlech WEA.
Colin said “Tudur Evans from the Workplace team explained how the Essential Skills in the Workplace project could help, this was very interesting as it provided the staff training we needed free of charge.
“The course has been very beneficial for the company and I have noticed a significant drop in calls for help with IT problems since the staff started. They are now able to work independently using software such as Excel and Word without calling for assistance..”
Diane Williams, who works in the home deliveries department, said “it
has been good to learn more about what the software can do, I used Excel
in a very basic way before and didn’t realise all other things I
could do with it.
I’ve also been learning how to present my work, using different fonts, integrating photographs, graphs and spreadsheets which I didn’t realise I could do”.
Colin added “Rob Sanderson the tutor, has been very helpful and arranged the classes to take place at a time that is convenient to us. We shut the factory on a Friday afternoon anyway so Rob comes in then”
Rob said “I am very pleased with the way the staff at Welcome Furniture responded to the course, they have worked hard on their projects and all have progressed up to a higher level than they started.”
The Essential Skills in the Workplace project is European Social Fund (ESF) funded led by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Working in partnership with Training Providers and employers the project aims to raise awareness of the benefits of a skilled workforce.
Blue Bear has a picnic at Runaround play centre, Wrexham
Staff at Runaround indoor play centre in Wrexham have had fun writing a puppet play while they learn communication skills as part of the Essential Skills in the Workplace project.
Coleg Harlech WEA Tutor Diane Roberts explained, “as part of their course the staff wrote a puppet play called “The Blue Bears Picnic”.
When I first visited the play centre I met with the manager, Sue Ford, and she talked about how important it is that staff are able to communicate confidently with children and parents. I then designed the course to develop the skills staff need in a fun way that is relevant to their work.
As part of a communication skills taster course staff wrote a puppet play which involved considering the characters, writing a script, creating the scenes, making hand puppets from socks and soon it will all come together when they present the play to an audience.
The staff taking part, including Jodie Kirkham and Holly Speirs, have thrown themselves into the course with enthusiasm and in the process it has helped them develop their writing and communication skills”.
Manager, Sue Ford “I’m really pleased with how this course has gone, I can see the progress the girls have made, they have grown in confidence and it has helped develop their creativity, they are coming up with new ideas all the time.”
The Essential Skills in the Workplace project is European Social Fund (ESF) funded led by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).Working in partnership with Training Providers and employers the project aims to raise awareness of the benefits of a skilled workforce.
Deputy Minister praises Essential Skills programme
The Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert, on a recent visit to north wales praised the work of Coleg Harlech WEA, Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Menai on the flagship Essential Skills in the Workplace programme.
The programme aims to raise awareness of the need for a skilled workforce and to commit to supporting essential skills training in the workplace.
He said while attending an awards event in Rhos-on-Sea “I congratulate the learners and employers here today on their endeavours and would like to thank Coleg Llandrillo, Coleg Menai and Coleg Harlech WEA for their commitment to the cause.”
Moya Seaman, Coleg Llandrillo’s Essential Skills Manager, said: “In partnership with our colleagues at Coleg Menai and Coleg Harlech, we are pleased to be able to offer this training across Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Gwynedd. We currently have 136 employers and over 400 staff engaged on the programme.
The Welsh Government recently stated that its aim for education is to ‘help everyone reach their potential, to reduce inequality, and to improve economic and social well-being’. The Minister for Education and Skills’ priorities are improving standards of literacy and numeracy, and reducing the impact of deprivation on educational improvement.
Dynamic Arts project with Clwyd Alun Housing
Coleg Harlech WEA have been successful in securing a £29,000 grant
from the Arts Council for Wales for an exciting project working in partnership
with Clwyd Alyn Supported Living Projects to provide dynamic art courses
to young people.
The Supported Living Projects work with young people who have been in housing crisis to support them to gain the experience and skills to live independently.
Sarah O’Connell Jones team manager says
“ This project will provide fun, high quality art courses to young people currently being supported by Clwyd Alyn. The young people who take part in the project will not only develop increased art skills but also improve their communication, presentation and team work skills.
Coleg Harlech WEA are very excited to work in partnership with Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and the Arts Council for Wales on this project which starts in January.”
Congratulations to tutor Sali Burns
Sali was presented with the runner up Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Award at the Royal College of Nursing Wales Nurse of the Year awards on November 28th 2012 at the awards ceremony in Cardiff City Hall. She was nominated for her contributions towards developing bilingual mental health services that will better meet the needs of Welsh speakers.
(Pictured here with Tina Donnelly, Director of RCN Cymru and David Jenkins OBE Chairman of Bwrdd Iechyd Aneurin Bevan Health Board)
Sali said "My work for the NHS supported my work as tutor and Hub Tutor on the Coleg Harlech Open Minds project from November 2009 to November 2012. The project manager, Sarah O'Connell Jones, was eager to develop bilingual courses for the Open Minds project in line with Coleg Harlech's aims to provide ease of access to educational opportunities in Welsh. As a result, a pioneering Introduction to Basic Mindfulness Course was developed in both Welsh and English. The learning resources that were created included recordings of Welsh language meditation practices that were recorded and edited by Charlie Goodall at the Coleg Harlech sound recording studios on the Harlech campus. This is the first time that mindfulness resources have been made available to Welsh speakers in this way. I was very proud to have been part of a project that respected the right and need for Welsh speakers to be able to access information and education on health and wellbeing in the Welsh language.
The Royal College of Nursing judging panel made these comments:
"Sali has embraced the opportunity to get involved in projects that will raise the language awareness of the mental health workforce and she recognises the need to influence national strategies and policies in order to improve service user experience at a local level. Sali gets invited regularly to give presentations on developing bilingual mental health care services and uses her expereince as an adult education tutor to try to make the information engagihng and informative to her audience"
New campaign is the write stuff
Literacy and numeracy drive launched by Coleg Harlech WEA
Coleg Harlech WEA (N) has launched a major campaign to improve literacy and numeracy standards across North Wales, responding to a call from the Welsh Government to drive up essential educational skills.
It's been revealed 25 per cent of people in Wales are below the basic literacy level and 50 per cent are below the basic numeracy level. Coleg Harlech Principal Trefor Fon Owen explained: "People without adequate literacy and numeracy can be condemned to poorly paid jobs or unemployment and a lifetime of poverty and exclusion.
"By helping people gain essential educational skills we can help them create a better and brighter future for themselves and their families.It is equally important for the individuals concerned and for society as a whole."
As part of the campaign, community-based tutors from across the region
attended an Essential Skills Residential Weekend at Coleg Harlech with
the aim of passing either a Level 2 or 3 Essential Skills qualification.
Inspirational Billie champions Welsh language revolution
An "inspirational" Welsh learner who hails from Yorkshire is leading a classroom revolution in the Wrexham area.
Tutor Billie Owens is helping 18 teaching assistants from local schools who have signed up for a pioneering scheme to learn conversational Welsh.
The 20-week course called Cwrs Iaith Meithrin (Nursery Language Course), is being held at Gwersyllt Resources Centre.
It is the first initiative of its kind to run in North Wales and the experience is proving educational and enjoyable for the students.
The course is aimed specifically at teachers, nursery workers and childminders who work with very young children and who want to start learning or build their confidence with the language.
Pioneering project, Open Minds, in line for top award
ground-breaking education project to help people mental health problems
is in the running for a major award.
Coleg Harlech WEA’s Open Minds project is short-listed in the Inclusive Practice Category of the Gwobrau Colegau Cymru 2012 (Colleges Wales Awards 2012).
According to Project Manager Sarah O’Connell Jones, the scheme is proving a big hit with learners across North Wales.
She said: “Coleg Harlech WEA has a well established history of working with learners who are socially excluded, disenfranchised or who are simply classed as hard to reach.
AM's visit Ground-breaking project that helps people grow
Mature students on a pioneering gardening course in Mid-Wales are making history - as well as growing fruit and veg.
The "life-changing" Open Minds project in Newtown has been designed to help people who have or who are at risk of suffering mental health problems.
It's being run in partnership with the mental health charity, the Ponthafren
Association, in Longbridge Street.
The green-fingered students are in the process of investigating setting up a social enterprise to sell produce and possibly even offer garden design and landscaping services in the future.
Five of them are also studying for qualifications in horticulture based
‘Progression’ and ‘Employability’ with Diplomas
accredited by Agored Cymru.
It's believed they are the first in Wales to study for such demanding diplomas through a mental health centre.
Their achievements impressed two Mid and West Wales AMs, Rebecca Evans
and Joyce Watson, who came on a visit.
Rebecca Evans said: "It's fantastic, I don't think a single inch has gone unused and their plans to develop further are very ambitious."
Joyce Watson, a keen gardener herself, added: "I understand how people can learn skills in a relaxed way and how they can literally see the fruits of their labour and how that will give them confidence in itself."
Head is top of the class for Welsh
The inspirational head of a village school is in line for a top award.
Jennie Lewis has been nominated for one of the prestigious Niace Inspire
Awards for her work in boosting the Welsh language at Ysgol Nannerch.
(photo: Teacher Gaynor Selwyn, Meinir Tomos Jones, Head Jennie Lewis)
Jennie took over as head of the 72-pupil school three years ago, just before an Estyn inspection which recommended that more be done to promote use of the language in the English-medium school.
She contacted Coleg Harlech Workers’ Educational Association.to set up a group of learners among the parents and for herself, and the results have exceeded everybody's expectations.
Pioneering scheme scores a hit
A football-based scheme set up to help unemployed people have a shot at a new future has notched up an impressive scoring rate.
More than 50 people have found jobs after taking part in the ground-breaking Rhyl Strikers project.
Another 179 participants have gained UEFA-recognised qualifications and 282 people have gone on to Further Education.
On top of that, six of the former Rhyl Strikers students have set up
their own social enterprise.
The scheme is based at Rhyl Football Club's Belle Vue ground and the tutors are funded by Coleg Harlech WEA.
Coleg Harlech WEA Principal Trefor Owen is delighted at the success of
He said: "I was keen for Coleg Harlech WEA to become involved and support this excellent project because the abiding passion people have for football is an ideal way of unlocking their potential.
"The scheme's track record in helping participants create a new future for themselves is a credit to the students and their tutors.
Exciting new scheme to help local families learn Welsh
A ground-breaking initiative was launched by Coleg Harlech WEA at the National Eisteddfod, to help families in Denbighshire/Conwy/Gwynedd/Flintshire/Wrexham and North Powys learn Welsh.
From September, Coleg Harlech will be running the Cymraeg i’r Teulu (Welsh for the Family) courses across North and Mid-Wales, working in conjunction with the North and Mid Wales Welsh for Adults Centre.
According to tutor Meinir Tomos Jones, Welsh for Adults coordinator, the Welsh for the Family course is aimed at adult beginners which focuses on the fun element of learning.
Coleg Harlech is also offering Cymraeg o'r Crud (Welsh from the Cradle)
courses w in partnership with Welsh language project TWF for parents and
babies, and Hwyl i'r Teulu, a short taster course for parents of young
She said: “Cymraeg i’r Teulu is a new and exciting Welsh course for beginners wishing to learn Welsh through practical teaching methods.
“The aim is to enable them to acquire suitable phrases and vocabulary that may be used with the whole family and to access a broad informal activity programme of Welsh activities for the whole family.
£7.5m skills boost for North Wales
A £7.5m scheme to help over 5,000 workers in North Wales gain new skills and drive forward productivity in the workplace is being announced by Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, Lesley Griffiths today (28 March 2011).
Y Dyfodol – which means The Future - will be led by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, in partnership with Coleg Menai, Deeside College and Coleg Harlech, targeting employees and businesses across Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
Aimed at helping up to 800 businesses to boost performance, the scheme will offer company training needs analysis as well as sector specific training and development for staff. Accredited qualifications will also be offered up to and including Level 3, as well as short courses and NVQs.
Top Marks for Community Education
Community education in Gwynedd and Anglesey is the best in Wales according to inspectors.
Estyn, the government's education inspection body, has reported outstanding results in an assessment of a partnership of collages and other learning providers.
The Gwynedd and Mon Adult and Community Learning Partnership has been judged to be 'Excellent' in all areas assessed. The Partnership includes Coleg Harlech WEA(N), Coleg Menai, Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Anglesey County Council, Bangor University, Communities First Gwynedd and Anglesey, Mantell Gwynedd and Medrwn Mon.
The learning activity assessed ranged from adult basic education and English for Speakers of Other Languages to community development and traditional adult learning courses.
Coleg Harlech WEA 1st College to gain Wales TUC Quality Award
For the Quality Award the comments from regional union officials who supported the application, verified that tutors were supportive, friendly and that confidence building was a key factor on each course.
One education officer commented that, “They (the WEA) have a really strong commitment to learning.” One of several examples given was of how a tutor had gone to considerable lengths in time and effort, even calling in favours, with no personal advantage to help out a union officer, because the final outcome was of benefit to the learners.
The Workplace Learning Department at Coleg Harlech, overcome the many obstacles and the barriers that there clearly are, to take learning out into the everyday lives of our union members. That strong commitment, that belief in the accessibility to learning, to education, to training, for all adults, has remarkable benefits for individuals, for their families and for our communities.
More information about Coleg Harlech Workplace courses