From education to employment

Another record year of A-level and BTEC success at Cardiff and Vale College

Cardiff and Vale College is celebrating another record year of success with more students than ever before achieving their AS and A Level and BTEC qualifications.

In another record-breaking year for the College, nearly 600 learners sat their A2 qualifications. As a popular destination for A Levels, more than 900 learners have studied AS and A Levels this year across an impressive 40 different subjects, with a wide range of subject areas – from Art through to Classical Civilisation, Business, Dance, English, French, Further Mathematics, Geography, Government and Politics, Music and Drama, Photography and Physical Education seeing 100% pass rates.

The College also celebrated the achievements of its BTEC learners, with 800 learners receiving the results of their BTEC qualifications at Level 3, equivalent to A Level, either as standalone qualifications or alongside A Levels.

And hundreds of learners were celebrating their progression, with more than 600 applying to university this year, and hundreds more progressing to alternative progression routes including higher apprenticeships, professional qualifications and employment.

CAVC Principal Sharon James said: “It is always a real pleasure to celebrate our learners on A Level and BTEC Results Day as these young people embark upon the next chapter of their lives. Well done everyone!

“We are very proud of all our learners picking up results today. Their achievements are a testament to their hard work over the last two years, and the College staff who have worked incredibly hard supporting learners to achieve these outcomes. It is fantastic to see so many take these results, and the wider skills and experiences they’ve gained during their time at CAVC, to stand out from the crowd and progress onto leading universities and fantastic alternative progression routes including higher apprenticeships.”

One learner who made the most of what CAVC has to offer is A Levels student Kallie Chappell who, after gaining and A* in Extended Project Qualification, As in Maths and Physics and B in Classical Civilisations, is off to study Theoretical Physics at the University of Bristol.

“I’m very happy with my grades – I’m really, really pleased,” she said. “Everyone here made studying seem easier; the staff and the teachers were amazing.”

Kallie signed up to the CAVC Scholars Programme, which is designed to offer learners the opportunity to broaden their learning experience beyond the traditional A Level curriculum and offers support with applications to elite and leading universities.

“I was on the Scholars Programme which is a really good programme,” Kallie said. “It’s very supportive and you actually to get see what it’s like to be studying at university. It showed me that was what I wanted to do.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at CAVC. I left a Welsh High School because I could see that the College took a different approach. The teachers looked at how I wanted to learn and not just what I needed to learn.”

As one of a generation who grew up during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kallie had no experience of exams.

“I’d never really taken exams because of Covid – the only exam I’d even taken before was my GCSE Maths, but the teachers here really helped me prepare,” Kallie explained.

“I really want to work in Dark Matter research – that’s why I chose Bristol University because they’re involved with a probe that is looking at Dark Matter in a different way. I got a guaranteed offer because when I was on the CAVC Scholars Programme I learnt about summer schools and so I went to some of them and that helped me.”

Usman Aslam gained an A* in Law and As in English Literature, English Language and Psychology. He will now be progressing on to Queen’s University Belfast to study Law.

“I feel really good about my results,” Usman said. “My time at the College was really good and I want to give a special mention to my Personal Tutor Emma Williams – I was going to drop out at one point but she really helped me and supported me. I went through some mental health problems but she helped me through them.

“I also worked as a Sabbatical Officer during my first year which was a good additional experience.

“I’m looking eventually to practise as a lawyer and I’m leaning towards being a solicitor. The College has really helped me on my way.”

CAVC also offers other stand out opportunities for all students alongside their study, including its renowned sports academies. Rugby Academy player Lucas de la Rua has achieved academically while also representing the CAVC Rugby Academy as it won the WRU Schools and Colleges Cup for the second year running and playing for Wales U20s.

Lucas gained As in Maths and Biology and a B in Chemistry. He is going to take a gap year to concentrate on his rugby training.

“I’m happy with my results, considering all of the training I’ve had to do at the same time as studying,” Lucas said.

“The College has really helped me. One of the main reasons I came to Cardiff and Vale College was the Rugby Academy’s reputation. The rugby programme really helped me with balancing my A Levels with my rugby; and they were very understanding about my A Level commitments as well.”

At CAVC students are encouraged to take part in skills contests to further challenge themselves and boost their employability. These include Skills Competition Wales and the ‘Skills Olympics’, WorldSkills.

Karim Champenois gained a Triple Distinction in BTEC IT and Computing and is progressing on to do a Degree Apprenticeship with Bentley Motors.

“I’m really happy with my results. I’m looking forward to a mix of working at Bentley and studying at Manchester Met,” Karim said.

“I’d like to go into either software engineering or cyber security; at Bentley Motors I will be working more as software developer.

“I would definitely say that the College has helped me. There’s been a lot of support, not just with the course but with work-life balance as well. And great opportunities including competing in the WorldSkills competition.”

Jade Francis gained A*s in Government and Politics, Maths and Sociology and an A in Extended Project Qualification and is going to study Politics and Sociology at the University of Warwick.

“I feel really good about my results and I’m excited to be going on to study at university,” Jade said.

“My time at College was really fun and I enjoyed making friends, but the staff were also really helpful and helped me explore my subjects I was really interested in. I’m keeping my options open about what I do next as I want to explore a variety of areas at university.

“Cardiff and Vale College has definitely helped me achieve my ambitions – the teachers were really helpful. I came into the College not really wanting to study Sociology but all of that changed because of them. They helped me explore the subject.”

Alicia Amor, 17, gained A* in English Literature, A in Classics and A in Psychology and is going on to study English Literature in Sheffield University. “I chose to study at the College due to the range of subjects, like Classics which really appealed to me,” Alicia said. “I would recommend the College, I have really enjoyed the experience of studying subjects I am passionate about and making friends for life through them”.

Another learner who also chose a subject he was passionate about is Seb Thomas, 20, who studied BTEC Sport gaining a triple distinction, and now progressing to Liverpool John Moores to study a degree in Sport and Exercise Science.

“I’ve always loved sport and am keen to make a career out of it,” said Seb. “College has been an awesome experience and a great environment studying at Cardiff International Sports Campus. I would definitely recommend it and am really looking forward to starting university”.

Many students spoke about the environment the College offered to study in and the support they had received to achieve their goals.

Griffin Doyle, 18, gained A* in Maths, Further Maths and an A in Physics. “I’m delighted with my grades,” said Griffin. “Studying here has been a great experience – I’ve enjoyed the freedom, support and the whole environment to learn in. Its very different to high school and its really helped me reach my potential”

James Mates gained Cs in Photography, Art and Film and is progressing on to the University of South Wales to study Film and Production.

“I’m absolutely chuffed – I was stressing so much about these results!” he said.

“My tutors really helped me work out what I wanted to do. I originally wanted to go into photography but they showed me how much I could mix photography with film making and that’s what I want to do now. I really enjoyed my time at College; I started off nervous but the College helped me become more confident and then I started making friends and it was all really nice.

“I’m absolutely buzzing right now and I will be working my socks off in uni!”

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