From education to employment

Coleg y Cymoedd learner awarded a place on prestigious writing programme

A college learner from Caerphilly, is one step closer to achieving her dreams of becoming a screenwriter after securing a place on a prestigious writing programme held at a world-renowned literature festival.

Coleg y Cymoedd learner Cerys Baker, 16, is one of only twenty learners to have been selected to take part in the Beacons Project – a specialist writing programme for 16-18 year old aspiring Welsh writers and journalists held at Hay-on-Wye’s famous Hay Festival.

Hundreds of learners from schools and colleges across Wales applied to take part in a programme of creative workshops, discussions and events aimed at developing young writers’ writing skills. Participants on the scheme are also given the chance to meet and work with professional writers, broadcasters and journalists to inspire their creative writing and provide them with insights into a career in the industry.

Cerys, who is currently completing her AS levels in Film Studies, Psychology and Sociology, and English Literature and Language, hopes to one day become a professional screenwriter, inspired by her favourite writers including New York Times bestselling author Rick Rordian. After taking part in the Beacons Project, the teenager’s confidence to pursue her dream career has grown.

Cerys said: “The Beacons Project was an incredible experience. The talks, workshops and writing activities we took part in over the course of the four-day programme were fascinating, and I learnt so much.

“Taking part in the programme reignited my passion for reading and writing, and I now feel more confident than ever about my creative writing skills.”

Cerys beat hundreds of other writers to secure her place on the project after submitting a piece of her own original creative writing and answering questions on her reading and writing interests.

Former participants of the Hay Festival Beacons Project have gone on to have successful careers in creative writing, publishing, and the media, including the award-winning poet and playwright, Owen Sheers who attended this year’s creative writing residency.

Cerys was given the opportunity to meet the acclaimed Welsh poet and playwright alongside established British historian and author Hallie Rubenhold.

Cerys added: “Taking part in talks and workshops from professionals in the industry such as novelist, journalist and broadcaster Elizabeth Day and Amika George, a young writer, activist and campaigner against period poverty in the UK, was incredibly inspiring.

“Seeing the successful careers they’ve gone on to have in the literary industry goes to show how amazing an opportunity the Beacons Project is. I’m excited to take everything I’ve learnt from the experience and follow my dream career of becoming a screenwriter.”

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