THIS year’s Seren Hub launch has been held in Parc y Scarlets to help some of West Wales’ cleverest sixth form students.
The Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Seren hub is part of a Welsh Government project supporting the brightest sixth formers achieve their academic potential and gain access to the most competitive universities.
It was launched to tackle the decline in Welsh applications and admissions to Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Locally, the Network is inspiring and supporting students in their future career aspirations by providing hands-on support and advice and linking students with leading universities, summer schools and workshops.
Last Friday’s event was attended by 294 year 12 pupils from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire and representatives from colleges including Oxford, Cardiff, Swansea, Bath, Exeter, LSE, Aberystwyth, Trinity St David’s and Leeds.
The first keynote speaker was Mike Nicholson from Bath University, who gave advice to students on how to handle university interviews and that choosing the right course was more important than which university to pick.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Adam Price, who was the second keynote speaker, described his own experiences of studying at Harvard in 2010.
The event also involved pupils in a series of workshops including a mock trial staged by Cardiff Law School, a drama workshop with actor Richard Ellis, engineering and medical activities.
Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Carmarthen, pupils Catrin Lewis, Sian Morgan, and Ella Parmenter said they found the Seren event very useful in providing information on universities, not just the courses but university life as well.
Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth, Cefneithin, pupils Ianto Williams, Jacob Jones, and William Thurtle were also impressed with the event.
Ianto said: “I hope to have a better idea of what to do after A-levels and the steps forward in what I need to do to achieve that.”
Jacob said: “It’s quite an eye-opening experience to see what type of things we would want to do and the broad spectrum of courses offered by the universities.”
Yale University was represented by graduate Liam Rahman, who is director of E-Qual Recruitment Education based in Llanelli North Dock, which handles supply teachers for about 120 schools.
He said: “I promote Yale on a voluntary basis as an alumnus. I’m trying to support the Seren Network’s mission to raise pupils’ aspirations educationally and academically, to apply to the top universities and to stretch themselves.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s education executive board member Cllr Glynog Davies said: “The Seren initiative is about encouraging our brightest pupils to apply to top universities and to make the most of the opportunities available to them.
“It will provide them with support and encouragement over the coming years.”
Caption 1: Rebecca Parker, Owen Thomas and Branwen Waghorne take part in Cardiff Law School’s mock trial.
Caption 2: Pupils take part in a drama workshop with actor Richard Ellis.
Caption 3: Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Carmarthen, pupils Catrin Lewis, aged 16; Sian Morgan, aged 16; and Ella Parminter, aged 17, at the Seren network event.
Caption 4: Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth, cefneithin, pupils Jacob Jones, aged 17; Ianto Williams, aged 16; and William Thurtle, aged 16.