Our News

22 October 2013

Annual Awards Evening celebrates Cardiff and Vale College student success

Cardiff and Vale College has marked its second year of providing world-class education and training in the heart of the Capital Region by celebrating the hard work and success of its learners with a glittering award evening.

The College took over the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay for the night. The event attracted nearly 400 attendees from across the spectrum of local business, education providers and the community where 23 students plus partner organisations were recognised for their efforts and contribution to College life.

The Awards Evening began with a drinks reception, before a three course meal and awards presentation on the WMC’s main stage. The awards ceremony was hosted by BBC Wales presenter Jason Mohammad, while College Hospitality & Catering students assisted with front of house service.

Celebrating the achievements of the 2012-13 academic year [see full list of winners below], the awards also illustrated the benefits of choosing a Further Education college such as CAVC. All of the students recognised have progressed on to university courses, including Cambridge, the next level at College or within their careers.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal and Chief Executive Mike James said: “I offer my hearty congratulations to all of our award winners. It has been fantastic to celebrate all of their achievements.

“The Annual Awards are a great reminder of the impact learning has and the opportunities it can create. It also reminds me what a privilege it is to be working in our exciting College.”

Winners included:

Apprentice of the Year winner: Michael Pleace, 22 and from Penarth. Michael is on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Live Events course and works with Genero Productions in the Vale. He has impressed both his employers and work co-ordinator at Cardiff and Vale College Apprenticeships (CAVCA) alike with his professional and proactive approach.

Michael has been involved in a number of high profile jobs, including fitting First Minister Carwyn Jones with a microphone and ensuring the sound was accurate so he could give a speech and working on the lighting for a formal Cardiff Blues dinner. Tracy Swannick, Quality Assurance Officer at CAVCA said: “Michael’s outstanding work is a shining example of vocational education at its best – he is going to go far.”

Michael said: “To be honest I’ve never won anything before - I’m really glad to have won this award. I didn’t know anything about College awards so when I got home one day and opened the letter telling me I’d won I was proud of myself.

“I first went to college when I was 16 and left after two days. But the people I’ve met this time and the course is different – I really enjoy it and it is a great feeling to achieve something and to stick with it.

“I’m working with Genero Productions and it’s the first job I’ve had since leaving school. I’ve been out of school for seven years and this is the first time I’ve had something like this.”

Sport and Public Service Award winner: Bradley Cole. This 20-year-old from Penarth has represented the College in athletics and rugby and is the county hammer and javelin champion. Bradley has also captained the Welsh Under 21s Athletics team and played for the Welsh Academicals rugby team. His College work was of the highest standard and he has now progressed to study Sports Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

“I feel very proud to be able to say that I’m a student from Cardiff and Vale College. It’s been a hard two years but it’s really been worth it,” Bradley said.

“When I left school I wasn’t really that ambitious and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started on a Carpentry course but then I strove to get into Sport. I saw an opportunity and took it with a Sport course. I took everything I could out of my time at College and I’m now a student at university. It’s helped me to follow all of my goals and all of my dreams in sport.

“I absolutely loved my time at College from the very first day. It gave me all of my interests and hobbies and it gave me direction. The tutors all really helped to push me to where I wanted to go.”

Beauty, Complementary Therapy and Hair Award winner: Bethan Driscoll, 20 and from Cardiff, came to CAVC to study Level 3 Massage Therapy. Bethan’s hard work and determination has shown that being registered blind is no barrier to a career in the Beauty Industry. All of her tutors remarked upon what a pleasure she has been to teach.

Bethan said: “I’m surprised to win – I didn’t think it would be me that won. I feel really honoured.

“I loved my time at College. The best thing for me was doing the massage and especially being massaged! I really enjoyed learning new skills.


"The tutors were amazing, I couldn’t have asked for any more. They were all so supportive – it couldn’t have been better. I would like to work in a salon eventually but I would like to go for some more academic study – I want to take a Reflexology course.”

Computing Award winner: Sam Harrison. Twenty-four-year old Sam, from Barry, came to CAVC after leaving the army with few qualifications. He achieved Distinction grades across the board on his Level 2 Diploma in IT course, and his tutors had to give him assignments early to stop him from getting board. Sam performed so well that he was able to bypass the Level 3 course and progress straight to the Higher Education HND programme – quite an achievement in one year for someone without many qualifactions.

“I’m really chuffed to win this award,” Sam said. “I didn’t think I was going to get as far on the course as I did.

“I came from the army and I only had two GCSEs, I was never academic. I came out of the army and did an apprenticeship but I was made redundant so I thought I would go back to college and do something academic so I chose an IT course.

“The lecturers are great – they’re all down to earth and they help out when you get stuck. I’ve got a job with MPCT now but I’m coming back to College next year to do a HND in Computing next year. I want to go on to work as a network administrator or a systems architect.”

Principal’s Award winner: Frida Tveit, 19. Frida came to the College to study AS Levels as part of an exchange scheme with Hordaland in Norway but liked studying in Cardiff so much that she decided to stay. Having achieved A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics AS Level Frida went on to gain A* grades in A2 Maths and Physics, plus an A in French, an A in AS Further Maths and passed her Advance Welsh Baccalaureate. Despite English not being her first language, her hard work and commitment has secured her a place at Girton College Cambridge where Frida is now studying Computer Sciences.

Frida was unable to attend the Awards as her lectures started on the same day. But in a specially filmed segment, Frida said: “I always liked to study, but I didn’t love the place where I studied until I came to Cardiff and Vale College. This wasn’t just because Cardiff is a lovely place, but also because of the wonderful teachers I had and all of the help and support that they gave me.”

International Leaner Award: Tunde Donovar, 30 and from Cardiff. Originally from Hungary, Tunde struggled with her literacy when she started on her Health and Social Care course. However, she sought out opportunities to improve her English skills and attended regular sessions at the College’s Study Skills Centre. Tunde eventually achieved Distinctions across her BTEC course and has progressed on to a prestigious Adult Nursing course.

Tunde said: “I’m really humbled to have won this award – to be honest, I didn’t even know I was nominated. I’m really happy about it, of course!

“I really enjoyed my course, it was really nice. I enjoyed learning new stuff and learning new skills and I got on with all of my tutors really well. All of the College staff were hugely supportive all of the way through my time at Cardiff and Vale College.”

There was also a surprise for CAVC Awards Evening host Jason Mohammad. The popular broadcaster and former student was presented with the College’s first Alumni Award. Jason said his time at the College had helped him decide that a career in media was the vocation for him.

Business and partner organisations were also recognised for their help and support of CAVC. Cardiff Council won for its work the College on training its catering staff to meet the requirements of the Welsh Government ‘Appetite for Life’ initiative, while Wales & West Utilities was recognised for its commitment to training its staff with help from CAVC. STTEPS was also awarded for its collaboration with the College on free legal clinics for students and its work in helping maximise the results from CAVC’s work with local communities across the Capital Region.

All awards were sponsored by local and national organisations, with their representatives presenting the award to each winner. Cardiff Metropolitan University and Rightacres Property Co were the main sponsors of the awards.

Other organisations that came on board to celebrate the success of CAVC learners included Cardiff University, Skywards, Goldwell, Willmott Dixon, Capital Law, Stone, BAFTA Cymru, City & Guilds, EESW STEM Cymru, Cardiff City Football Club, Cardiff Bus, the Wales Millennium Centre, Bodyshop  Solutions and Creative & Cultural Skills.


Apprentice Award winner Michael Pleace

Beauty, Complementary Therapies and Hair Award winner Bethan Driscoll

Sport and Public Services Award winner Bradley Cole

"Frida couldn't make it to the Awards this evening..." Principal's Award Winner Frida Tveit accepts her award from outside her Cambridge college

Award Winner Sponsor / Presenter
Curriculum Area Awards    
A Levels & GCSEs Michael Kirkby, 25, Cardiff Cardiff Metropolitan University
Access Courses Michael Eveleigh, 22, Barry Cardiff University
Aeronautical Engineering Amy Lewis, 29, Pontypridd Skywards
Beauty, Complementary Therapies and Hair Bethan Driscoll, 20, Cardiff Goldwell
Built Environment Tina Burgui, 34, Cardiff Willmott Dixon
Business and Professional Matthew Alder, 19, Cardiff Capital Law
Computing Sam Harrison, 24, Barry Stone
Creative and Cultural Studies James Huntley, 19, Cardiff BAFTA Cymru
Engineering and Environment Luke Mayor, 19, Dinas Powys EESW STEM Cymru
Foundation Studies James Clark, 22, Barry Rightacres Property Co
Health, Social Care and Children's Care Yasmin Green, 20, Cardiff City & Guilds
Language Studies Mariusz Rogacz, 34, Cardiff Cardiff and Vale College International
Sport and Public Services Bradley Cole, 20, Penarth CCFC
Teacher Training Mel Boxall, 30, Cardiff Presented by Colegau Cymru
Transport Services Kieren Jones, 22, Barry Bodyshop Solutions
Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Sean Harrison, 18, Barry  Wales Millennium Centre
Cross College Awards    
Apprenticeship Learner Michael Pleace, 22, Penarth Creative & Cultural Skills
Community Learner Gillian Morgan, 61, Barry Cardiff Bus
Higher Education Learner Helen Taylor, 34, Barry Cardiff Metropolitan University
International Learner Tunde Donovar, 30, Cardiff Cardiff Metropolitan University
School Link Learner Abbie Bennett, 18, Barry Cardiff Bus
Welsh - Bilingual Learner Amy Marsh, 24, Penarth Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre
Business and Partner Awards    
Cardiff Council    
Wales & West Utilities    
Alumni Award Jason Mohammad  
Principal's Award Frida Tveit, 19, Cambridge via Norway and Cardiff and Vale College