The latest in Skills & Talent across Southeast Wales

This record-breaking summer continues to create the warmest of stories in skills and talent, with USW renewing its hugely successful strategic partnership with the five foremost FE colleges of Southeast Wales … Cardiff University graduates being celebrated as amongst the most employable in the UK, with 84% in highly-skilled employment … the Wales STEM Awards 2022 opening for entries … a Dulux Academy that’s skilling-up the next generation of painters and decorators … and no fewer than seven teachers in our region being honoured at the prestigious Professional Teaching Awards Cymru


USW re-signs strategic alliance with FE colleges of Southeast Wales

The University of South Wales (USW) has re-signed its strategic alliance with five Further Education (FE) partner colleges in the Southeast Wales Region.

The alliance – which includes Bridgend College, Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent, Coleg y Cymoedd and The College Merthyr Tydfil – was originally signed in 2013, with a vision and commitment from all partners to work together in a common endeavour to create opportunities for learning, employment and social inclusion.

The past nine years has shown that USWs work with the alliance partner colleges is vital in providing a bridge for learners to access Higher Education delivered in local settings – with flexible learning options focusing on courses that are tailored to the local skills demand.

Current success with partner colleges includes broadening the routes to studying healthcare, particularly in new areas of health provision such as Operating Department Practitioner, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy – while in the creative industries, USW works with partner colleges alongside Screen Alliance Wales, Bad Wolf Studios and Dragon Studios to generate a pipeline of creative talent into a fast-growing local ecosystem built around film, TV, games and the trades that support those industries.

Looking forward, the re-signing of this hugely successful strategic alliance will produce a collaborative plan of action in key areas, including academic, vocational, skills and regional priorities, together with the roadmap for progression pathways, curricula development, industry engagement and applied research.

Cardiff University graduates among the most employable in the UK

Graduates from Cardiff University are among the most employable in the UK, according to the 2019/20 Graduate Outcomes survey.

Published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the survey shows that 84% of Cardiff graduates were in highly-skilled employment – ranking first in Wales and 18th (out of 130) in the UK.

In total, 96% of Cardiff’s graduates were either in employment, further study, due to start a new job or course, or engaged in activities such as travelling – with Cardiff University graduates having the lowest rate of unemployment for any Welsh University.

The Graduate Outcomes survey is the biggest annual social survey in the UK, with more than 750,000 graduates invited to take part every year.

The survey provides an authoritative insight into the jobs that graduates go on to secure after university – one of the key measures of whether a degree has helped secure highly skilled employment.

Cardiff University’s exemplary performance in the Graduate Outcomes survey follows hot on the heels of an outstanding showing in the Complete University Guide 2023 published earlier this month – which placed the University’s graduates as top in Wales for future prospects and success in employability.


The Best in Welsh Teaching revealed at National Awards

Ten of the most inspiring, talented and dedicated education professionals from across Wales have been revealed as winners of the fifth annual Professional Teaching Awards Cymru.

29 finalists from all four corners of Wales were invited to celebrate excellence in education at the awards on Sunday 10th July at The Coal Exchange in Cardiff, with this year seeing the introduction of the new Betty Campbell MBE Award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities.

This inaugural inclusivity award, won by Llanwern High School, is given to an individual, team or school that has demonstrated an outstanding awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the classroom – with Llanwern securing the prize for the great care taken to instil a culture that ensures all members of the school community feel a sense of belonging, with the judges particularly impressed by the whole-school approach taken to the promotion of diversity.

In total, no fewer than seven schools in the Cardiff Capital Region stepped up to receive an award – testimony to the exceptional energy, enthusiasm and innovation shown by the schools in our region during a hugely challenging pandemic period.

In full, The Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2022 winners included:

  • Teacher of the Year in a Primary School – Charmaine Riley, Radyr Primary School, Radyr.
  • Outstanding New Teacher – Holly Gordon, Ysgol Bryn Derw ASD Special School, Newport.
  • Inspirational Use of the Welsh Language – Iona Llŷr, Education and Childrens’ Services, Carmarthenshire County Council.
  • Supporting Teachers and Learners – Carolyn Platt, Ysgol Bryn Elian, Colwyn Bay.
  • Youth Work in Schools and the Community – Christian Williams, Heolddu Comprehensive School, Caerphilly.
  • Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School – Mark Morgan, Pen y Dre High School, Merthyr Tydfil.
  • School Business Manager/Bursar – Claire Coakley, St. Martin’s School, Caerphilly.
  • Headteacher of the Year – Meurig Jones, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd, Maesteg.
  • Pupils Award for Best Teacher – Laura Buffee, Haverfordwest High VC School, Haverfordwest.
  • The Betty Campbell MBE Award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of BAME Communities’ – Llanwern High School, Newport.


New Dulux Academy offers industry-leading training to Newport’s Decorators

A new Dulux Academy has opened at Newport’s Dulux Decorator Centre, bringing the UK’s only training centre for professional painters and decorators to Wales, with a mission to enable greater accessibility to industry-best training – equipping the next generation with the skills they need to succeed.

Since its launch in 2016, the Dulux Academy has helped develop the skills, knowledge and confidence of more than 12,500 trade professionals – helping address an industry skills gap, as well as upskilling the workforce of the future.

The new training facilities give professionals from the surrounding areas access to the latest techniques and methodologies, delivered by experienced Dulux Academy Skills Development Consultants – providing attendees with the knowledge and expertise that will give them a meaningful competitive advantage in improving their job prospects or growing their business.

The new facilities offer a full range of Dulux Academy courses, from professional application techniques – like wallpapering and paint spraying – to building colour confidence.

The Newport store refurbishment follows on from the successful introduction of four similar Academy facilities in the Decorator Centre network across the UK, with more to follow in the coming months.


Wales STEM Awards 2022 opens for entries

Entries are now open for the 2022 Wales STEM Awards, with 14 categories recognising those enterprises and individuals who are addressing the STEM diversity gap and skills shortage – and spotlighting those who are inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation – as well as celebrating the companies leading the sector in our region and highlighting the businesses creating a positive impact on the Welsh economy.

Entries are open until 9th September, with the ceremony taking place on 27th October 2022 at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel.

Existing sponsors Cardiff Metropolitan University, CSI Catapult and Development Bank Wales are joined by Educators Wales (sponsoring the STEM Educational Programme of the Year category), the Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies (CEMET) who are sponsoring the Innovation in STEM Award, and Linea Resourcing, who have put their name to the STEM Company of the Year (under 50 employees) category.

The inaugural awards saw winners announced from across the STEM spectrum in Wales, with CGI IT UK taking home STEM Company of the Year (251+ employees), Louise O’Shea of scooping STEM Leader of the Year and Hazel Thorpe from the IPO securing STEM Woman of the Year.
To discover more about the latest in skills and talent across Southeast Wales and beyond, go to



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