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Education

From Carew to Sao Paulo?

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DomA former Pembrokeshire College Apprentice, now employed by Keating Joinery in Narberth, joined over 100 of the UK’s most talented apprentices and learners last month to battle it out in three days of competitions with the aim of securing a place in Squad UK for WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015. 

Dominic Hicks (aged 20 from Carew) was invited to compete for a place in Squad UK after excelling in the WorldSkills UK National Competitions, the finals of which took place at The Skills Show in Birmingham. His natural craftsmanship and eye for detail mean that Dominic is now one of just two UK joiners who will be competing for a place in Squad UK. Dominic’s achievements to date already recognise him as one of the best trainee joiners in the UK and see him follow in the footsteps of College lecturer Gareth Evans and former lecturer Rhydian Williams who also made it through to Squad UK selection stages in recent years. If Dominic is successful in his bid to make Squad UK he will be competing in WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015 which takes place from 11-16 August 2015 and is the world’s largest international skills competition. Held every two years in cities around the globe, the WorldSkills Competition sees around 1,000 young people come together to compete for medals in more than 40 skills ranging from Bricklaying to Beauty Therapy and Aircraft Maintenance. Dominic was thrilled to be selected and commented: “If I am able to get through to WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 it would be the trip of a lifetime for me, especially as I will be representing Wales. “I have a long standing interest in working with wood so when the time came I decided to pursue a career in joinery. I have certainly enjoyed all the WorldSkills competitions up to now and the additional training that I have received so far has made a massive difference to my joinery work.” Pembrokeshire College principal, Sharron Lusher, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled that Dominic has made it through to Squad UK selection. To reach this stage demonstrates not only Dominic’s talent for joinery but also his professionalism, ability to work under pressure and determination to succeed. “Dominic’s achievement to date not only highlights the quality of the teaching within the College but also the value that the College places on building close relationships with employers – without the full support of Dominic’s employer it would not have been possible for Dominic to progress to this stage in the competition.” For those who are successful in securing a place in Squad UK, they will undergo an intense training programme supported by a dedicated Training Manager and Performance Coaches. In May next year, they will come together to compete for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015. Keith Smith, Official Delegate, WorldSkills UK said: “By taking part in international competitions, the UK is able to showcase the high levels of performance that can be achieved by individuals and organisations through high quality further education, skills training and Apprenticeships. “I offer my congratulations to everyone who has been selected to compete in the Squad UK Selection for WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015 and I wish them the best of luck in their preparations for the competitions.” Participating in WorldSkills enables countries to share best practice in Apprenticeships and vocational teaching, raising standards on a global scale. The competitions showcase the high levels of performance that can be achieved by individuals and organisations through quality training, inspiring young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. Squad and Team UK for WorldSkills is managed by Find a Future.

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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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