From education to employment

Inspirational performance by Cardiff and Vale College students at awards ceremony for adult learners

Vale Inspire Award Winners outside the Glamorgan Suite restaurant at CAVC’s Barry Campus

Seven students and one member of staff from Cardiff and Vale College have been recognised for their inspirational work and dedication at a special ceremony to honour adult learners.

Organised by the Vale Learning Network, the Vale Inspire Awards 2017 celebrate lifelong learning in the Vale of Glamorgan. Held at the College’s Glamorgan Suite restaurant in its Barry Campus, the awards were presented by Vale AM Jane Hutt and CAVC Vice Principal Emil Evans.

The overall Vale Inspire Award went to former CAVC student Lauretta Hughes. A multiple award-winner, Lauretta has achieved much despite leaving school early with no qualifications.

Lauretta returned to education in 2014 having raised five small children – two of which are on the autistic spectrum. She enrolled on an Adult Foundation course, wanting to progress on to an Access to Higher Education course and eventually become a nurse.

Having thrived at College, Lauretta is now studying at Cardiff University. She won CAVC’s Health and Social Care and Principal’s awards at the College’s annual awards and also Agored Cymru’s Access Learner of the Year Award.

The College’s collaboration on Project SEARCH won in the Innovation in Education category. Project SEARCH is a major international project providing employment and learning opportunities for young people with disabilities and/or autism.

Eleven CAVC students completed three ten-week internships at Cardiff University with support from the College and ELITE Supported Employment Agency. Two of the interns have already found employment as a result of Project SEARCH.

Project SEARCH is funded in Wales by the wider Engage to Change project, which works with employers to help young people with learning disabilities and/or autism to develop employment skills through work placements and support into paid employment.

CAVC Hairdressing student Nadia Hadjali was named Progression Champion. Nadia won the Hairdressing Council’s Student of the Year 2016 award, and was a winner in the Advance Hairdressing heats of Skills Competition Wales.

Matthew Griffiths won the Vale Inspire Progression into Work Award. After spending many years working in retail, Matthew decided to realise his dream and enrolled on an Aircraft Engineering course at the College – from there he has progressed to a traineeship with Aston Martin and will be among the first cohort of staff at St Athan when the prestige car company opens its factory there.

Zoila Garcia Mancebo, an IT learner who has won bronze in Skills Competition Wales and regularly provides tech support at College events was crowned Digital Champion while Shannon Conway and Julie Avery won awards for Progression to Higher Education and Further Education respectively.

CAVC student Reza Sardrood won the ESOL while award and College Trowel Trades Technician, former labourer Owain Williams won the Tutor Award for being an inspiration and role model to his learners.

Other winners included The Vale Parent and Child Homework and Support Club which won the Gail Hughes Award, Mentoring Award winner Gareth Thomas, 50 Plus Champion Jim Loach, David Greedy and Jane Clarke who both won Role Model Awards. Kay Rees, Beverley Patch and Nicola Williamson all won health and Wellbeing Awards. Catherine Williamson won an Essential Skills Award and Progression Awards went to Winnifreda Tandi, Theresa Ruckley, Samantha Prince and Aqsa Ahmed-Hussein.

Vale AM Jane Hutt said: “I am always delighted to present the certificates and congratulate the award winners at the Vale Inspire Awards held at Cardiff and Vale College’s Glamorgan Suite. It is humbling to hear about the achievements of the award winners who have so often overcome barriers and difficulties but have persevered and broken through to achieve great success for themselves, their families and the community.


“I am particularly proud of the success of the Vale Homework Club, led by Cath Watkins, who is transforming young lives through her inspirational commitment.”

About CAVC:

  • In 2016 CAVC won the prestigious UK-wide Association of Colleges Beacon Award for its innovative and sector leading apprenticeship provision
  • Cardiff and Vale College is one of the top companies for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the National Centre for Diversity’s 2016 Top 100 Index. It has also been awarded the National Centre for Diversity’s Award for Welsh FE College of the Year 2016
  • Cardiff and Vale College was awarded College of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Insider Business and Education Partnership Awards

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