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Education

Lifelong learning achievements celebrated

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THE DESIRE for and the love of learning is a guiding principle for the Lifelong Learning programme at Aberystwyth University.

That was the key message from Professor Judy Broady-Preston, Director of the Institute of Professional Development at Aberystwyth University, at the institution’s annual Lifelong Learning and Learn Welsh Awards Ceremony on Monday,October 23.

The successes and achievements of students of all ages on a range of lifelong courses were recognised at the ceremony hosted at the University’s Medrus conference centre.

These included the Certificate of Continuing Education that acknowledged learners who have completed 120 credits across a broad range of subjects, and the Certificate of Higher Education, which can take between two and six years to complete on a part-time basis.

Successful students were presented with certificates by Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Professor Treasure said: “Aberystwyth University has a long and distinguished history of encouraging life-long learning not only among staff and full-time students but the wider community. It is important to recognise the commitment and the many hours of personal study that this involves and the benefits that lifelong learning brings. I’m delighted that many of our students receiving certificates here today will now progress onto higher levels of study, at Undergraduate and Masters. I wish them all well in their endeavours, and thank our tutors for their dedication to learning and for making all of this possible.”

In all,27 students were presented with Certificates of Higher Education in Art and Design, Creative Writing, Genealogy, Languages, Psychology, Field Ecology, and the Diploma of Higher Education in Field and Conservation Ecology.

Individual awards were presented to both students and staff during the ceremony in recognition of their contributions, successes and achievements.

The Rob Strachan Memorial Prize – named after the renowned mammal ecologist, conservationist and Lifelong Learning tutor who died after a short illness in 2014 – was awarded to Suzanne Ellis for her portfolio of work on the Understanding Mammals courses.

Art students Candy Bedworth and Frances Isaac were presented with the Student of the Year Award. Both were nominated for their award by their tutors and fellow students.

Candy, who lives in Mallwyd, was acknowledge for her work on an educational flyer assessment designed for students with sight impairments which was shared at the University’s Teaching and Learning Conference in July 2017.

Frances Isaacs from Llangorse near Brecon, was described as an “inspiring” artist and “encouraging and modest” as a fellow student, and someone about whom “everyone had something positive to say”.

Three tutors shared the Lifelong Learning Annual Tutor Award.

Ethel Cure, Kaori Oikawa and Patricia Aitchison were nominated for the award by their students.

Spanish tutor Ethel was described as “a gem of a teacher and an example for the language teaching profession.”

Kaori, who teachers Japanese, was described as someone who loves her subject and’encourages students to speak to give them confidence in the language they are learning’.

An​ ​’inspirational tutor who motivates everyone in the class’, French tutor Patricia was acknowledged for teaching with’humour and a light touch’.

Professor Judy Broady-Preston, Director of the Institute for Professional Development at Aberystwyth University said: “Aberystwyth has rightly been designated as a people’s university, founded as it was by ordinary people’s subscriptions. The University was established because a local community had both the desire for and the love of learning, and I am delighted that this remains true today. It is not always easy to find time to learn, but those of us who do attend courses such as these benefit in such a wide variety of ways. I would also like to pay tribute to all the staff who design, deliver and organise the courses and say thank you to them.”

The event also celebrated the work of organisations that have been promoting the use of Welsh and students who have been learning the language.

The Welsh in the Family Award was presented to former Aberystwyth Mayor and performer Sue Jones-Davies.

The Brecon Beacons National Park was presented with the Welsh in the Workplace Award, and Clwb Clonc Caersws was presented with the Welsh Group of the Year.

Certificates were also presented to students who have successfully completed their WJEC ‘Use of Welsh’ Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced qualifications, and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Welsh Language Skills Certificate.

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Education

Josephine wins Welsh carpentry title

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Pursuing her passion: Josephine Jones

A COLEG SIR GÂR carpentry student has won the Welsh regional title of the Institute of Carpenters Carpenters’ craft competition.

Josephine Jones, from Saron, is in her first year of studying a City and Guilds diploma in carpentry and joinery at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Ammanford campus where she is also signed-up to the college’s shared apprentice scheme.

Following a specification set-out by Institute of Carpenters, Josephine set-about responding to the brief.

“The spec was quite complicated at first,” she said. “It involved intricate work which meant that creating strong joints was a challenge but I enjoyed it.”

Josephine also says that her first year of study helped prepare her for the competition where she learned about joinery, joints and the best tools to carry out the work. “Since I was a young girl I’ve always wanted to do a trade job,” she said. “But I was encouraged not to and guided into other careers.”

Finally pursuing her passion, Josephine added: “I love working with wood, I like working outdoors and doing something physical and I’m doing something different every day.”

The Carpenters’ Craft Competition is the only national competition open to students of carpentry, joinery and shop fitting. It gives outstanding students the chance to showcase their work and have it judged by leaders in the field.

Winners are presented with their prizes at a special ceremony held at Carpenters’ Hall

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Education

WIAV graduate wins Elizabeth Connell prize

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Winning 'a life changing experience': Katie Lowe

UWTSD has offered its congratulations to Katie Lowe, who has won the prestigious Elizabeth Connell prize.

Katie, who is a graduate of the university’s Wales International Academy of Voice, was awarded the prize at a special ceremony held in Sydney, Australia. The prize includes AUS $30, 000 and an audition at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Katie said: “Nothing prepared me for the shock of actually winning the ECP award. This is a life-changing experience and I intend to fulfill the promise that the esteemed judges have placed in me. It is a privilege to begin my dramatic soprano journey in Elizabeth Connell’s footsteps and I hope to do her memory proud.”

Katie is an English soprano who studied at the Wales International Academy of Voice under the tutelage of Dennis O’Neill. She graduated in 2014 and since then, she has gone on to receive numerous awards including the Ian Fleming Award MBF, Sybil Tutton Award MBF, Countess of Munster Award, Les Azurieles Young Artist Award, Dennis O’Neill Foundation Award and the Josephine Baker Trust. In 2016, she was awarded the Independent Opera Postgraduate Voice Fellowship at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Dennis O’Neill, Director of WIAV, said: “I was delighted to hear of Katie Lowe’s huge success in this very important competition and have sent her our congratulations on behalf of WIAV. It was always a joy to teach her and equally so to see yet another of our singers joining the profession at such a high level.”

The Elizabeth Connell is an annual prize-giving awarded to aspiring dramatic soprano. Finalists were chosen from auditions in Sydney, Melbourne, Moscow, Berlin, London, Zurich, Paris, and New York. For her winning performance, Katie performed the ‘Immolation Scene’ from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and ‘Suicidio’ from La Gioconda by Ponchiello.

The Wales International Academy of Voice was founded by Internationally renowned Tenor Dennis O’Neill, and now part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s, students will benefit from the expertise of a Master of his field and a world leading Educational Institution to prepare them for the ever changing pace of the Operatic Performance Industry.

The Academy provides a highly specialised and unique environment for a small number of exceptional singers and accompanists at the early stage of their professional career and recruits young artists globally. Students work with the best vocal technicians, coaches, visiting eminent conductors and international stars from the operatic world in order to develop their talent to the highest professional standards.

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Education

21st Century Schools’ £2.3b boost

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Largest investment in schools since 1960s: Announced by Kirsty Williams

THE WELSH Government has earmarked a further £2.3b to modernise education infrastructure, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced ​last Friday (Nov 10).

The money will allow the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education Programme – a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme – to continue for a second wave of investment.

Band A of the programme will conclude in 2019 after a £1.4bn spend over 5 years. This second wave of investment, Band B, will comprise 2 funding streams; one using traditional capital, and one using revenue funding, via a new form of Public Private Partnership called the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).

Local authorities and further education institutions have proposed £2.3bn of projects, which meet the investment objectives of Band B of the programme including:

  • ​Addressing growth in demand for Welsh medium education
  • ​Reductions of surplus capacity and inefficiency in the system
  • ​Expansion of schools and colleges in areas of increased demand for educational services
  • ​Address condition of educational assets
  • Making assets available for community use where demand exists

The Welsh Government is committed to supporting all of these projects, subject to approval of business cases.

Speaking at the opening of Ysgol Cybi, a new 540 place Welsh medium primary school in Holyhead delivered by £9.7m of Band A funding, Kirsty Williams said​: “I am committed to raising standards, reducing the attainment gap and delivering an education system from the ground up that is a source of national pride and confidence. The 21st Century Schools and Education Programme is one of the means to achieve this ambition and represents the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.

“The first wave of funding provided though the programme will see investment of more than £1.4b over the ​five-year period ending 2019, supporting the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across the Wales.

“This is why I am delighted to announce a second wave of investment for the programme, which will begin in April 2019.

“We will work closely with our partners to agree the pace of delivery and put in place investment plans that are affordable and meet our shared ambition to create sustainable learning environments that meet the needs of our communities.”

Announcements on individual Band B projects will be made in conjunction with local authorities in due course.

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