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Summer Start-up Week helps hundreds of students become entrepreneurs

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500 students, college leavers and graduates with entrepreneurial ambitions from West Wales and across the country took part in a free online Summer Start-Up Week to help get their business ideas off the ground.

The sell-out Summer Start-Up Week took place from 8th – 12th June and offered five days of inspiration, learning and networking to turn ideas into businesses, social enterprises and freelancing careers.

The Summer Start-Up Week was launched collaboratively by all Welsh colleges and universities to ensure young people separated by social distancing could join a virtual start-up community and continue to develop their ideas. This included Aberystwyth University, Coleg Sir Gar, Coleg Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire College. A group on Facebook formed from Summer Start-Up Week now has over 250 like-minded members who will continue to support one and other through their business journey.

With a mix of daily live webinars and active Q&A sessions, the week covered relevant topics such as market research, finance, digital marketing and networking, helping participants to develop skills and gain information and contacts to turn their ideas into viable businesses or social enterprises.

The week drew on the business expertise of academic staff and featured experienced entrepreneurs and business experts, including Lee Sharma from cloud-based software platform Simply Do, Tracey Smolinski, founder and managing director of Wales’ leading independent business network, Introbiz, Town Square Spaces founder Gareth Jones and Katy Hayward from honey farm and education centre Felin Honeybees.

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “The fact this Summer Start-up Week was able to take place virtually during these most challenging of times is a demonstration of the exceptional collaboration which takes place between our educational institutions and our service providers.

“That it was also sold-out is a testament to the budding entrepreneurial spirit and flair our young people have here in Wales, even in these extremely challenging times.

“The event will have given students and graduates invaluable access to inspiring success stories and expert advice, as well as a valuable peer network for the future.

“I hope it helps all those who attended to realise their business ambitions now and for the future.”

Apprentice winner, Alana Spencer from Aberystwyth, owner of Ridiculously Rich confectionary business, featured as part of the entrepreneurial line up, alongside a host of Welsh entrepreneurs.

Supported by the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales service, part of Business Wales to encourage youth entrepreneurship, the week featured talks from the network of entrepreneurial Role Models. These business owners from across Wales shared inspiring stories and practical advice to help others understand the business start-up journey.

Role Model Clare Ferguson-Walker, from Carmarthen, owns CFW Designs, and make and sells paintings, sculptures and ceramic art globally.

Clare said: “It’s great that these events are taking place to help nurture entrepreneurship in Wales.

“I am an artist, primarily a sculptor and at the start only intended on selling a few of my pieces. I didn’t have a bigger game plan than that, but before I knew it I was running my own business.  It was challenging to begin with, and I learnt so much in the first year. Through sharing my experiences, I hope it has inspired other budding entrepreneurs that setting up their own business is well within their reach.”

Emma Forouzan, chair of Summer Start-Up Week: “At universities and colleges in Wales, we see first-hand the exceptional entrepreneurial minds of many of our students, and we’re continually looking for ways to nurture and support those students with strong business ideas. In this climate, it’s important for ambitious young people with a business concept to think about their options and take time to learn from experts and the business support available to them.

“During the week I was impressed with active participation of the students, with 100’s of students at each session, they questioned, shared knowledge questioning and sought , sharing knowledge and gleaning advice from experienced business owners as well as linking into the fantastic introducing them to the start-up support network available here in Wales.”

Following the week students will speak with their assigned Entrepreneurship Champions from their college or university and access ongoing support and advice to help them pursue their ambitions.

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Herald refreshes look after lockdown

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THIS WEEK, to mark our seventh anniversary, we’ve made some big changes to The Pembrokeshire Herald. Apart from it being an eighty-page bumper edition, that is.

We’d begun thinking about how we wanted The Herald to look before lockdown began and in the months since then, our design team kept plugging away at one key question:

How could we make reading The Herald a better experience for our readers?

It was more than the proverbial seven-year-itch. Our designers wanted to refresh our style to keep The Herald a relevant must-read weekly community newspaper. It’s been like waiting for the hairdresser to reopen for a much-needed haircut before you end up looking like the lead singer of a 1980s metal band.

After much head-scratching and soul-searching, our design team came up with a concept which we think will make The Pembrokeshire Herald more attractive to our readers.

We’ve changed our layout and masthead to reflect a new and dynamic style on the pages inside. The changes make the paper easier to read and allow us more scope to adapt our paper instead of relying on templates and inflexible layouts into which stories are placed willy-nilly ‘to fill the gap’.

We’ll still keep producing the biggest and best cross-section of Pembrokeshire news around and keep our commitment to providing Pembrokeshire’s readers with a local perspective on the news which affects our County.

Not all news which matters to Pembrokeshire happens in Pembrokeshire, so this week you’ll find analysis of the Chancellor’s summer statement with analysis of how it affects Wales and Pembrokeshire. You’ll also find out how a Pembrokeshire couple’s court battle with their landlord has changed the law in Wales about tenancies and evictions. And you can laugh at the story about how an online parody duped its unwary readers.
It’s the sort of news in the sort of depth you won’t find anywhere else.

We’ve kept our favourite columnists and are adding a few more into our mix to give you the widest choice of unique, challenging, and satirical commentary on what’s happening locally and in the wider world.

Our sections are now colour-coded to help you find the content which interests you most. Whether it’’s Politics, Farming, Entertainment, or Newyddion Cymraeg which tickle your fancy, each section has its own fresh look. In our Politics section this week, we have what one prominent Brexit supporter thinks about the UK’s negotiations with EU. In Entertainment, we have part one of a two-part piece about the future of our local arts sector.

Whatever you’re interested in, just look at the colour key and our page guide will lead you to what interests you most. As we begin to crawl collectively out of the lockdown, it’s time for a new start. A new look. And a new Herald. We hope you enjoy it. Once you’ve read it, let us know what you think by contacting editor@herald.email

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Education Minister announces ‘back to school’ plans for September

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DECISION backed with £29 million to recruit, recover and raise standards

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has today confirmed that all pupils will be able to return to school in September.

“plan to open in September with 100% of pupils physically present on school sites, subject to a continuing, steady decline in the presence of COVID-19 in the community.”

The Minister announced that:

  • Schools will return to full capacity, with only limited social distancing within
    contact groups.
  • At full operations, a contact group should consist of around 30 children. Some direct or indirect mixing between children in different contact groups will also be unavoidable, such as on transport, receiving specialist teaching or due to staffing constraints.
  • Social distancing for adults should remain in line with regulations and guidance.
    Schools will be required to minimise the risk of transmission by taking other mitigating measures using the hierarchy of risk controls.
  • Every school should continue to be “Covid Protected” – having carried out risk assessments and mitigated them with a combination of controls such as hand and surface hygiene, one-way systems and so forth.
  • If early warning information shows a local incident or outbreak then nearby schools should implement appropriate restriction measures.
  • Each school will be provided with a supply of home testing kits.

The Minister confirmed that the autumn term will start on 1 st  September and schools that can accommodate all pupils from the start of the term should do so.

The Minister outlined plans just hours after confirming the Welsh Government would make £29m available to ‘recruit, recover and raise standards’ in Welsh schools in response to the impact still felt from the pandemic.

Commenting on the additional funding announced, the Minister added: “We will recruit, recover and continue to raise standards.”

It is thought that there will be around 800 newly qualified teachers in September and around 800 supply staff currently working within Wales.

“With this funding, we will recruit the equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants throughout the next school year.

“We will target extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages.

“The support package, provided at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and additional time and resources for exam year pupils.

“We must never lower our expectations for any of our young people, no matter their background.

“Together, we will continue to raise standards for all, reduce the attainment gap and ensure we have a system that is a source of pride and public confidence.”

Councillor Ian Roberts, WLGA Spokesperson for Education, said: “Since schools closed at the start of the crisis, many children and young people have felt anxious about loss of learning and not being able to see their friends.

The Minister’s plan today will enable schools to safely reopen classrooms from September. Local authorities will work closely with their schools to make sure that necessary arrangements are in place to abide by Welsh Government guidance.

“Our schools have been hit by severe disruption during this pandemic, and we welcome the £29m pledged by the Minister for targeted support to minimise the effects of the past few months on pupils.

We will continue to work together in partnership the safest and best possible learning experiences for our children and young people, especially in such challenging circumstances.”

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Latest ‘Life in Lockdown’ winner

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'Life in Lockdown' winner Jo Campbell

AN atmospheric black and white print of a padlocked gate and an inviting grassy area beyond is the latest winner in round five of the ‘Life in Lockdown’ photography competition.

The photograph was taken by Jo Campbell of Milford Haven who entitled it ‘Locked Out Lockdown’.

Submitting her portfolio, Jo observed: “These represent my lockdown and I hope people see theirs in these too.”

Jo was a runner-up in the last round.

Runner-up Albany Milton

The competition invites young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to submit pictures of life under the Covid-19 restrictions and is run by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Youth Outreach team.

The two runners-up were Albany Milton from Ludchurch – which showed her having a socially distanced catch-up with her gran – and Ethan Sky from Wiston who captured a peaceful countryside scene.

Ethan Sky also runner-up

Guest judge was youth worker, Fiona John.

For an application form contact either Chris Barrie at chris.barrie@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or phone 07717 345935 or Mel Lear at melissa.lear@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or 07818 012254.

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