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Education

Sodexo gives young people valuable experience

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sodexoSEVEN young people from Pembrokeshire received a nationally-recognised qualification on July 18 as part of a new local initiative to improve employability. Sodexo, the world largest services company, partnered with the Pembrokeshire Youth department at Pembrokeshire County Council and 14 Signal Regiment at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy, to offer ‘Delivering the difference for a better tomorrow’. Young people aged 16 to 21 who are not in education, employment or training took the three-week course at Cawdor Barracks, where Sodexo provides a range of facilities management services to the Ministry of Defence. Job interview skills and CV writing were taught on the programme, before participants undertook two weeks of work experience in various roles at the barracks with Sodexo, including catering, hospitality, retail and leisure. Successful participants were awarded accreditation from Agored Cymru in Skills Development. Karen Roulston, operations support manager at Sodexo Defence, said: “The programme is an excellent initiative that reflects Sodexo’s commitment to improving quality of life in the communities in which we operate. Sodexo provides a wide range of services to the Ministry of Defence, which puts us in an excellent position to offer valuable experience in a number of sectors, while supporting young people with mentoring and training. “We have received tremendous support from the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Purves, and the Quartermaster Major Burdge in allowing this programme to be hosted at Cawdor Barracks.” Heidi Holland, Targeted Youth Work co-ordinator for Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “This innovative programme presents a unique opportunity to sample several areas of employment whilst developing skills, knowledge and confidence for young people in Pembrokeshire. To be able to work in collaboration with Sodexo and 14 Signal Regiment on-site at Cawdor Barracks to deliver this programme will ensure that the experience is realistic for young people and will encourage them to be aware and take advantage of the opportunities in Pembrokeshire with support from youth workers.” Councillor Sue Perkins, Pembrokeshire County Council cabinet member for Education and Safeguarding, said: “We are very heartened by the success of this initiative, and understand that as a result of it, three of the young people have already been offered employment which is fantastic news. “Youth workers at Pembrokeshire County Council have supported the young people through the application process and the programme, and they will continue to support them and access opportunities for the remainder of the group. “It is hoped that another similar programme will take place next year on a bigger scale.”

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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