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The rise of the ‘sensible student’



herbalifeA NEW study by global nutrition company Herbalife reveals that over 92% of students are now in search of a healthier lifestyle. As a new wave of under-graduates embarks on university life, it could be time to re-visit old clichés and misconceptions about what life is really like as a modern day student. Has the recession, a fragile economy, rising tuition fees and a competitive job market now created a student culture that’s far removed from the stereotypes which emerged during the ‘Young Ones’ era?

Are the days of Red Bull, Pro Plus and rounds of toast as a support for exams really a thing of the past? In short, are students now more sensible? Research certainly suggests so. In its study of over 11,000 Europeans across 14 markets to examine changing attitudes to nutrition and wellness, Herbalife found that almost 90% of UK students have already made steps to try and lead a healthier lifestyle. The survey revealed a large number of UK students now consider the nutritional content of their food with 74% eating three good meals a day and over 70% classifying themselves as healthy. Exercise is important too, with 75% of UK students exercising 3 times a week or more. With the health industry seeing a boom in sales of nutritional products and interest in healthy eating and fitness at its highest point in years, it seems this shift in attitude is perhaps to be expected.

Couple this with a plethora of savvy cooking blogs, stylish health & fitness ezines and a rising trend for teenage chefs and it seems that students are certainly not short of inspiration when it comes to leading a healthier life away from home. Kathryn Bradley, a 20 year old student from Belfast says she couldn’t believe the impact a healthier, more nutritious diet had on her lifestyle and wellbeing. ‘I used to suffer from incredibly low energy levels, but after eating more healthily and drinking lots of water, I noticed an immediate impact – not only in my energy, but my motivation to do things and my wellbeing in general. This has had a positive effect on my studies and I’ve also been inspired to start my own business too – something I’d never dreamed of doing before.’ According to the survey, 72% of students now consider the nutritional content of their food.

Kathryn says: ‘Through education around food, I managed to make big changes to my diet. Instead of reaching for a packet of crisps or a round of toast, I’ll have a banana, a healthy protein bar or a handful of nuts. I’m constantly buzzing and people are always asking me what I’m doing! These sentiments are echoed by Jake Sanders – a 21 year old student at Brunel University in Uxbridge – who used good nutrition to keep a clear head during exams. ‘Whilst all my mates were reaching for the Red Bull, I’d have Aloe tea, healthy shakes and a proteinrich diet to keep me on the ball. The constant revision and pressure of exams can be immense – eating well definitely helped get me through it all.’

As well as being more health conscious, a growing number of university students are not just concentrating on their degree or their social life but are focused on starting their own business too. From ‘The Underground Book Club’ set up by Andy Brown in his final year at the University of Bath to “First Class Products” set up by Exeter University Geography student Tom Ellis. Some of the most influential companies have risen from university projects to world dominating giants like Facebook, Google or WordPress. Such role models are compelling and it seems that students aren’t waiting to graduate to get started. Luke Hanlon, 20 from Wales started running his own business in his second year of University, quitting his part time Sales Assistant role at M&S once he realised the monetary benefits of going it alone. Fourteen months in and he now makes enough income to cover his rent and student expenses, working his business part time around university and football coaching.

Luke says: “I started out running free Fitclubs in Cardiff and moved into nutrition after seeing such a strong need and demand for healthy weight loss products. My business success is largely down to word of mouth. Referrals are essential and only happen through good, positive feedback. It’s advertising that money can’t buy – network marketing is, in my opinion, the business of the future.” There’s also that small matter of job satisfaction, as Luke says: “There’s no bigger motivator than doing something you love. I’m extremely passionate about my business and love the fact that I can use my education and knowledge to inspire people through sport, health and fitness.”

This emerging trend in the student market has been noticed by Employment Minister Esther McVeywho was recently quoted as saying young people should think about starting their own business, adding that being their own boss can be more satisfying – financially and professionally – than embarking on a career with a large firm. With recent figures revealing over 4.5 million people now self employed, it seems this employment trend is set to continue, with increasing numbers of people pursuing their own interests and passions to carve out positive business opportunities. Gavin Aley, Senior Country Director, Herbalife UK, Ireland & Iceland comments: “It appears a new type of student is emerging; not only were they one of the most health conscious sectors we polled but they also seem to be one of the most entrepreneurial too.” “The spirit of free enterprise does seem to be alive and kicking amongst UK students. We’re noticing a growing interest in Herbalife as a business opportunity from under-graduates who are happy to take advantage of the flexible working hours offered by direct selling as a way of earning while in education.”

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New independent sixth form opens in Haverfordwest



A NEW independent sixth form is set to open in Haverfordwest in September 2021. The latest addition to Castle School, which relocated to Haverfordwest in 2020, the new sixth form will offer 20 different A Level subjects and a BTEC in business through bespoke study programmes that include options to study online or in the sixth form. Students will also get the option to complete work and study placements abroad.

The launch of the sixth form comes after a busy year for Castle School, which relocated from Narberth to Haverfordwest in September 2020, taking over and refurbishing Glenover House, a beautiful old ‘gentlemen’s residence’ that had been empty for five years. The move enabled the school to expand and increase its educational provision.

In addition to its main building, the school has a cookery school and performing arts facility in Snowdrop Lane, and a further site on Snowdrop Lane which is being specially converted to create the sixth form centre. The site will also include an indoor sports facility for whole school use.

The sixth form is designed with flexible study in mind: as well as offering a broad range of subjects and the ability to study online from any location, it will provide instant access study support as well as face to face teaching. In addition, students will get the option to study for one of their A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, in order to experience a different learning environment.

Other milestones for Castle School this year include the opening of a second independent school, Westward House, in St Clears and the purchase of a narrow boat, which will be moored on the Avon and Kennet canal. This will give pupils opportunities for short residential trips to Bristol, Bath and beyond.

“With a floating hotel licence, our newest acquisition will enable small groups of pupils to take their studies further afield and benefit from enhanced learning, extracurricular boating skills and a look at the wider world,” said Harriet Harrison, owner of Castle School and Westward House.

“Things have been tricky over the past year, but along with many others we have seen the difficulties of a world of Covid not as an opportunity for excuses but as a time for stepping up, working harder and making things better and stronger wherever possible. Our schools are thriving, and despite being desperate to get back to normal, we have used this time to improve our facilities for all the children in our care who are coming back after these long periods of lockdown and remote schooling. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

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U-turn on compulsory lifesaving lessons in Welsh secondary education



SCHOOLS in Wales will now teach first aid and lifesaving skills as part of the new curriculum.

Wales will join England and Scotland by introducing first aid and lifesaving kills to their national secondary education curriculum.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister had previously rejected the calls for emergency resuscitation skills to be compulsory in school.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was introduced in the secondary school curriculum in England in September 2020.

Local authorities in Scotland have also committed to introduce lifesaving skills to their secondary education curriculum.

The British Heart Foundation had backed the campaign for CPR to be taught in schools.

In a long fought battle, Suzy Davies, a Welsh Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales West, secured the commitment from the Welsh Education Minister in the course of debating amendments to the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill, which will make sweeping changes to the way Welsh children are educated.

The new curriculum for Wales is planned to come into force from 2022.

Children, parents, families and medics have long argued that regular teaching of CPR in particular will raise our children to have the skills and confidence to step in and save the life of someone in cardiac arrest if they encounter them outside a hospital setting.

The commitment was included in the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the Assembly election in 2016, and Suzy Davies, the Shadow Education Minister, said:

“After 10 years campaigning for this, I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

“From securing cross-party support for this in my early days as an Assembly Member, through several debates and pitches to different Ministers, on to my own proposed legislation which found favour among Senedd Members, it was difficult to understand why Welsh Government was so resistant.

“In this country, our chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside hospital are as poor as 10%. In countries around the world where teaching CPR and defibrillator use is compulsory, those odds improve dramatically. These skills are quick and easy to learn and easy to remember.

“ Alun Davies MS – himself a cardiac arrest survivor – has rightly argued that we should be able to learn these skills at any time in our lives and that defibrillators should be a commonplace feature of our public landscape. I couldn’t agree more – but how simple it is to ingrain these skills from an early age and raise generation after generation of lifesavers.”

Under the new curriculum, teachers must follow statutory guidance made by Ministers to support various aspects of the new way of teaching. After changes guaranteed by the Education Minister, this guidance will now instruct teachers that they should teach lifesaving skills and first aid: It is no longer optional.

The mandatory teaching of life saving skills and first aid (not just CPR) has been supported by the medical profession, including paramedics and fire service co-responders, as well as charities like St. John’s Cymru, British Heart Foundation, Calon Defibrillators, Cariad and the Red Cross.

It is taught through many youth groups, including Torfaen Sea Cadets who trained Aneurin Metcalfe, the young man who saved someone’s life only this week.

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Styling their way to the top



FOUR hairdressing learners: Holly Mathias, Jenna Kilgallon, Helaina Thomas and Leah Rees, recently earned themselves a place in the next stage of the Concept Hair Magazine Learner of the Year Competition.

The candidates were invited into the College to show their fully presented entries as evidence and then submitted them remotely to the Concept Hair Magazine judges in December.

The categories for the competition were: Festival Hair, Red Carpet, Old School Barbershop, Celebration of Colour and Safari.

The unique styles allowed the learners to show off their creative hair styling skills from plaits to updos, to bold colour creations.

Charlotte Jones, Hairdressing lecturer was over the moon with the learners’ success; “We were all so impressed with the creativity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the students who took part in the competition. Also, the students who supported the entries during the day and the models who gave up their time to be involved. They should all be very proud of what they have achieved. The results were amazing!”

The students worked to COVID regulations ensuring all the correct PPE and procedures were followed.

Finalist, Holly Mathias entered three categories which included; Styling Level 2 – Festival Theme, Hair Up Level 2 – Red Carpet and Avant Garde – Safari.

Holly shared her experience; “Taking part in the Concept Hair competition, has really boosted my confidence and proved that hard work really does pay off. The support from the staff at Pembrokeshire College is outstanding. I would recommend everyone to take part in this competition as not only is it an amazing experience, but it really allows you to think outside the box and be as creative as you can! I would 100% take part in this competition again.”

Holly plans to go into full-time employment when she completes her course and hopes to one day work on cruise ships or even own her own salon.

The next stage involves the candidates submitting photographic entries on the 12th March where six will be shortlisted for the national finals which is set to take place virtually in April.

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