STUDENTS gathered outside Coleg Gwent’s Pontypool campus this afternoon to protest the reallocation of the college’s construction and hair and beauty courses to alternative campuses.

Due to the construction of the Torfaen Learning Zone, the campus will close in 2020, but students on the college’s construction and hair and beauty courses will be moved this summer.

The hair and beauty course will be available at the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, Crosskeys Campus and City of Newport campus, while the construction course will be available at the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone and the City of Newport Campus from September 2019.

Transport to the alternative campuses was the main concern among protesters, with many saying they would be unable to travel the further distances and balance their other commitments, such as the school run or their responsibilities as a carer.

South Wales Argus:

The letter sent out to Coleg Gwent students on the affected courses.

Level two beauty therapy student Sian Heath said: “When we signed up in September to do our beauty course, we were promised that we could go on do our level three qualification here.

“I have three children and I have to fit this course around the school run and looking after them. Studying at the alternative campuses won’t allow me to do this.

“It’s damaging to my education.”

Fellow level two beauty therapy student Natasha Soar said: “Most salons only accept candidates with level three qualifications.

“I can’t travel any further than I do now. I am already leaving the house at 6am.

“I might not be able to do my level three qualification anymore.”

A petition aiming to stop the courses from being moved to alternative campuses has been set up, gathering more than 1,100 signatures at the time of writing.

A spokeswoman for Coleg Gwent said that the college was holding an open forum for students to give their feedback and discuss their concerns, as well as providing reassurance that they are looking in to the additional transport needed where there is a lack of existing public service bus routes.


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She said: “We are working closely with the local authorities, our current students and school pupils in the Torfaen county to make sure the transition to the new Torfaen Learning Zone runs as smoothly as possible, ensuring we have our learners’ best interests at heart.

“Moving this curriculum from September 2019 means we can focus on the transition of our current students at Pontypool before the new campus opens.

“Hair and beauty and construction will not be offered in Torfaen at the new Learning Zone, inevitably this was going to cause upset.

“Moving the curriculum early means we can focus on managing the transition more smoothly, helping settle the uncertainty among both our learners and also staff affected who teach these subjects.

“Additionally, some courses are in decline and attracting learners to ensure courses are viable to run is essential to secure the future of these provisions.

“By moving these courses earlier than planned, we will be in a better position to make stronger assurances to learners in offering a sustainable future and progression to the next level.”

The college also said that they will waive the termly travel pass costs for students affected by the relocation and will pay £40 per term for the travel pass cost for over 19-year olds.

Further information on the financial support for students can be found on the Coleg Gwent website.