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New Care Courses at y Gaer Brecon Beacons College

New Care Courses at y Gaer Brecon Beacons College

Y Gaer, Brecon’s landmark museum and library, has opened its doors to prospective care workers of the future, with College classes now moving into the space. Starting this Summer term, Health, Social and Childcare lessons have been relocating from Brecon Beacons College, Penlan, to y Gaer as a way of making education more visible and accessible to the community.

Starting with afternoon sessions this term, full-time care classes are being phased into the 21st-century learning spaces. Students of all ages have already been enjoying the boosts to learning opportunities awarded by a new facility, such as reading groups for local nurseries in the library area. Included in the new facilities for the learners are children’s reading areas, interactive whiteboards, and open-plan classrooms featuring beautiful views and plenty of natural light.

Kelly Sherwood, Head of Health, Social and Childcare at NPTC Group of Colleges is happy learners are starting afresh in y Gaer, commenting:

“We are delighted as a department to offer students the opportunity to study at this amazing new venue. We are hoping to engage with the town and local employers to enhance the experience for all.”

Over the next two years, the College is gradually relocating its courses and facilities to y Gaer and other town centre buildings. Also being hosted in y Gaer are the College-run café and the College’s dedicated student library section. Full-time care courses are the latest to move after Business and Adult learning classes began in The CWTCH, the former Tourist Information Centre, in 2020.

Also taking place on behalf of the College are community engagement events at the venue. Recently, employers took part in a conference with the College and Ysgol Calon Cymru at y Gaer about ways of keeping people and the skills they offer in Powys. Among the College, Ysgol Calon Cymru and their partners, there are concerns that the appeal, or “pull factors,” nearby areas possess are encouraging locals of all ages to move or work away.

Presenting new methods of inspiring Powys students and workers to stay local were Newtown-based business Outdoortoys and Powys Teaching Health Board. In their presentation, the Chief Operating Officer of Outdoortoys, Mandy O’Hara, wanted “to take every opportunity to increase awareness of career opportunities in Powys. I believe this can only happen with local businesses working closely with schools and colleges.” Outdoor Toys hope to continue working with the College by offering placement opportunities, particularly to students in BTEC and degree programmes for Business Studies. Meanwhile, the local Health Board is partnered via the College with placements offered to Health, Social and Childcare students, plus new living wage apprenticeships through the Powys Health and Care Academy.

Speaking at the conference, Gemma Charnock, Vice Principal External Relations at NPTC Group of Colleges, said:

“NPTC Group of Colleges is committed to ensuring that the communities we serve are thriving and prosperous. A key building block to this success is an effective and productive collaboration between the local authority, schools, local employers and the College, which seeks to ensure that young people are given every opportunity to reach their potential and that we harness that potential with education and workforce opportunities within the County.”

As co-chair of the event, Ysgol Calon Cymru Headteacher Dr Richard Jones added:

“Ysgol Calon Cymru are very pleased to be able to contribute to this collaborative network and we look forward to growing sustainable and strategic partnerships which will benefit all our learners here in Powys.”

Councillor David Selby, Portfolio Holder for a More Prosperous Powys commented:

“Powys County Council welcomes Brecon Beacons College into y Gaer. Courses on health, social and childcare are particularly welcomed, and we plan to explore further how we can work collaboratively for the benefit of Brecon and the surrounding communities. We are excited to see the college run café operational, providing an additional attraction to all visitors to y Gaer.”

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