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Skills winners celebrate with Deputy Minister

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PEMBROKESHIRE learners have been rewarded for their successes at two major skills competitions, in an event celebrating talent across Wales.

Winners gathered at St David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff Bay to be honoured for their achievements at Skills Competition Wales and The Skills Show.

The event saw Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, hand out medals to 39 students, trainees, apprentices and employees who all won at competitions in 2014.

Pembrokeshire College students and graduates Annalea Lawrence, 39, from Pembroke; Luke Lawrence, 20, and Nicola Ashby, 32, from Pembroke Dock; Gabriella Coates, 19, from Tenby, and Marie Crayford, 44, from Saundersfoot, each took medals after triumphing in their chosen skill sector.

The Deputy Minister said: “This event is about celebrating the successes of our Welsh winners at Skills Competition Wales and The Skills Show, a group of people who will now act as role models to young people in Wales.

“These competitions help drive up standards in vocational skills and help us showcase the talent we have in Wales all over the world.

“We’re showing that we have talented students, trainees, apprentices and employees and we have forward-thinking training companies, colleges and employers.

“These competition winners are a testament to what can be achieved through dogged determination as well as skill.”

During Skills Competition Wales, the country’s most talented learners battled it out in competitions ranging from reflexology to web development to be named the ‘best in Wales’ in their chosen skill.

Initially, entrants competed against colleagues within their college and the best were then entered to compete at a national level, as part of heats organised within colleges across Wales by Skills Competition Wales (SCW).

In addition, The Skills Show, at the NEC in Birmingham then saw over 600 participants from across the UK take part in more than 60 competitions to be named the ‘best in the UK’.

Annalea and Nicola were awarded bronze and silver medals respectively in the reflexology category at Skills Competition Wales; Marie in aromatherapy, while Gabriella took gold in beauty therapy. Luke Lawrence was highly commended in the welding category at The Skills Show.

Gabriella said: “The Skills Show experience has been absolutely amazing.

“It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done but I learned so much from it and the end result was definitely worth it. I’d recommend it to any learner.”

Backed by the Welsh Government, through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales promotes the importance of developing a highly-skilled workforce, aiming to boost high level skills in Wales.

Barry Liles, WorldSkills Wales Champion and principal at Coleg Sir Gâr, who hosted the event, said:

“Taking part in skills competitions increases employability, employee skills, employer competitiveness, business growth and ultimately improves the economy of Wales.”

“The amount of passion and concentration shown at these events, the results of months and years of hard work, is always fantastic to see and every person involved should be hugely proud of what they have achieved.

“I’m extremely proud to be a part of such an inspiring scheme that has gone from strength to strength over the past four years.”

To register your interest for the next cycle of WorldSkills UK Competitions, visit www.worldskillsuk.org

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Business

Pembrokeshire the perfect holiday spot

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Pembrokeshire has been the perfect holiday destination for many years.

The county is home to miles of scenic coastline and beaches, stunning villages full of character and plenty of coastal escapes. It is the perfect place for tourists to sweep the cobwebs away and enjoy the beauty of the scenic Welsh countryside.

But with so many holidaymakers set to staycation in the UK, the question many people have been asking is where will they all stay? This is where Pass the Keys® comes in!

As the demand for staycation accommodation and short-term rentals grows across the UK, and more so in Pembrokeshire, there is an increasing demand for professional holiday let management services to help make the process of short term letting a completely hassle-free and enjoyable experience for property owners.

Pass the Keys® is run by local people & partnered with local companies but backed by a national brand who have are tried and tested infrastructure, as well as award winning technology to keep a cut above the rest. We are proud to be one of the only Professional Co-hosts of Airbnb in Pembrokeshire, so you can rest easy knowing that you are dealing with short-term letting experts.

Mark Pennino and Jamie Smith, Owners of Pass the Keys – South Pembrokeshire

Our holiday homes thrive thanks to our high standards of local support and this is demonstrated by our extremely high ratings on both Trustpilot and Google Reviews, why not take a look for yourself. Our bespoke software systems ensure that your holiday home is successfully marketed, occupied and kept safe, all of which are important factors to consider when selecting a holiday letting agency.

So, if you’re curious to find out more or maybe you are managing your holiday home yourself and it’s all getting a bit too demanding, go to our website and see how much your property can earn.

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Community

Enjoy the beach, but safely says the council and police in joint message

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YOUNG people in Pembrokeshire who are meeting up on the county’s beaches with their friends are being urged to do so safely and with consideration for others.

The message comes from Pembrokeshire County Council, Dyfed Powys Police, and other local agencies.

“It’s been a tough year for young people,” said Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet Member for social services.

“They spent much of the winter cooped up at home. Many have also been studying and had assessments. It’s natural to want to socialise – and to enjoy spending time on the beach.

“But please do so safely. If you’re a parent, please advise your child not to meet others at isolated beaches with poor mobile phone reception. We haven’t seen these problems so far, but if a young person has a drug or drink-related incident on an isolated beach, then it’s much harder for them to get help. The same goes if there’s an issue linked to reckless behaviour.”

Young people are also asked to act responsibly while at the beach, and to respect the local community.

It follows some instances where tins and bottles and the contents of bins were left strewn across the sand following gatherings.

“Young people are generally sensibleand we hope these were isolated incidents, but we would like to take this opportunity to remind them to respect the environment, put litter in bins or take it home,” said Cllr Hodgson.

“Please enjoy going to the beach – but please behave and allow others to enjoy it as well.”

National Park Authority Chairman, Cllr Paul Harries added: “As well as having a negative impact on other people who want to enjoy the beach, actions such as littering can also have negative impacts on wildlife.

“We would urge everyone to tread lightly as they enjoy the Pembrokeshire Coast so that all who visit or call this place home can do so safely.”

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Community

Enhancement project nears completion at Withybush Woods

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ONE of Haverfordwest’s favourite woodlands has been transformed over the past two years, thanks to an EU-funded improvement project led by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Withybush Woods is a tranquil dog-friendly woodland featuring two ponds, a wetland area, an accessible 1.5km footpath with bridges and a boardwalk, and lots of wildlife including resident ducks, moorhens and swans.

Owned by the County Council, the wood is located not far from Withybush showground and is part of the Victorian garden of Withybush House, demolished in the 1960s.

Pictured at Withybush Woods are Cllr Cris Tomos, Cllr Steve Yelland, and Helen Ross, External Funding Officer.

Work to improve the site has been carried out by the Council with support of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority youth rangers, and volunteers from Rudbaxton Community Council.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Welsh Language, said the Council has received lots of positive comments about how peaceful and beautiful the area is.

“Together with our partners, we have worked hard to improve and enhance Withybush woods and we’re delighted with the feedback that we’ve received,” he said.

“We know it was especially popular with local people during the pandemic and we’re pleased that it provided them with some tranquillity and the opportunity to relax and spend time amongst natural surroundings.”

Cllr Tomos said the new features had also been welcomed, and had made a real difference to the overall appeal of the area.

“As well as a newly-restored lower pond and a new wetland area, we have de-silted the upper pond, created an extra 500m section of accessible footpath including bridges, planted thousands of wildflowers and bulbs, installed signage, birdboxes, feeding stations, and more.

“There are still some elements of the project which haven’t been completed as a result of the pandemic, including the installation of an otter holt and planting of native trees – but this work will be carried out as soon as we are able to.”

Cllr Steve Yelland, county councillor for Rudbaxton, said: “I am delighted with the work that has been carried out at the woods, it has greatly increased the attraction and pleasure for many. The extension to the path and the new pond has added to the enjoyment which is used by both children and adults alike and is proving so popular that the car park is quite often full, which is a pleasure to see.

“I have had many people comment and say how much they appreciate the improvements that have been made and how much they enjoy walking through the woods.”

The enhancement work received funding by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. It also received funding through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme, through the WCVA.

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