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Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology visits Coleg Gwent

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology visits Coleg Gwent

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James met with students and staff from Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone at Ebbw Vale during a fact finding visit last week.
During the visit to Coleg Gwent, the Deputy Minister had a tour of the campus, which was officially opened in March 2012, on the former steelworks site, following an investment of £33.5 million. 
The new facility was made possible through a unique partnership between Coleg Gwent, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and the University of South Wales to provide a new post-16 educational centre for the whole of Blaenau Gwent and beyond. It has been supported and funded by the Welsh Government, including the European Regional Development Fund
Coleg Gwent Principal, Mr Guy Lacey said: “The facility at Ebbw Vale continues to be a great asset for the wider community, regardless of age or level of study. We offer full and part time courses ranging from higher education courses, such as a foundation degree in Business Studies through our partnership with the University of South Wales, to Independent Living Skills courses for learners with additional needs.”
“As well as serving all sectors of our community, we are raising aspirations and supporting our learners to reach their full potential. For example, the A level pass rate at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone this summer was 98.2% , the best results ever in Blaenau Gwent and higher than the UK and Wales average,” added Mr Lacey.  
During the visit the Minister toured the Construction workshops where she met Level 2 Electrical Installation student 19-year-old Andrew Winstanley from Nantyglo and Level 1 Plumbing student 18-year-old Michael Edwards from Ebbw Vale.
The Minister also met Head of School General Education, Suzanna Thomas and A Level student, 17-year-old Rhys Davies-Sweet from Brynmawr, who is studying Further Mathematics, Mathematics and Physics A Levels, having achieved AAAA at AS Level. He intends studying Mathematics at university and has been offered a place at university from Imperial College, UCL, Bristol and Bath.
The Deputy Minister said: “I was delighted to see how Coleg Gwent is meeting the demands for high class education through state-of-the-art training facilities. Through this fantastic facility Coleg Gwent is able to develop a highly skilled workforce in an area of high deprivation. This will enable individuals to gain the skills needed for progression into higher education or the world of work.
“Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone has been remarkably successful over the last three years in raising its learners’ aspirations. It is no surprise that this year’s students had the borough’s most successful A Level results ever.”
Andrew Winstanley, who is studying Electrical Installation Level 2 said: “The course will allow me and the other students in my class to have the option to start our own business and complete further jobs with precision and speed.”

Photo caption: Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James with Electrical Installation student, Andrew Winstanley (right), Coleg Gwent Principal, Mr Guy Lacey (centre right) & Electrical Installation student, Jordan Haskell (left)
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