Success at first Welsh Colleges Sport (WCS) Snowdonia Challenge 2017

Date: 24/05/2017

Success at first Welsh Colleges Sport (WCS) Snowdonia Challenge 2017

The inaugural WCS Snowdonia Challenge saw over 100 Further Education students visiting Snowdonia National park to compete in a series of outdoor activities including Mountain biking, Kayaking, Orienteering and Bouldering. Enjoying some fantastic weather over the event (8&9 May) the students involved took on the challenge head first demonstrating great team work and a competitive spirit throughout the challenge.

Iestyn Davies Chief Executive of ColegauCymru said ‘through partnership we wanted to create an outdoor competition for our colleges using the natural resources we have here in Wales. Congratulations to all partners involved in the organisation and planning, and to the competitors and volunteers for their commitment and determination shown over the two days.’ 

After a long day of physically demanding action Coleg Llandrillo from Rhos on Sea came out on top narrowly beating both The College Merthyr Tydfil and Coleg Menai from Bangor. There were numerous examples of good sportsmanship and determination from all competitors on display with some participating in an outdoor competition for the first time.

 Supporting the competitors were a large team of volunteers made up of college students who acted as marshals, timekeepers, and event coordinators. Also helping out were Coleg Menai Media Students who had the task of recording and producing media from the event that will support their college course.

The event created a dynamic new partnership with ColegauCymru, Welsh Colleges Sport, Coleg Menai, The Outdoor Partnership, Welsh Cycling, Canoes Wales and Gwynedd, Conwy and Ynys Mon local authorities who were all involved in the planning and delivery of the successful event.

Tracey Evans, CEO of the Outdoor Partnership added, ‘we’re delighted to have been part of this exciting new pilot project. The FE outdoor competition provides continuity from our secondary school competitions in bouldering, paddlesports and mountain biking. It allows us to work with the hard to reach age group and compliments a number of our existing programmes including our ‘pathways to employment’ and volunteering programmes, We look forward to continuing this collaborative event in 2018.

Mark Jones, Outdoor Activity Development Officer for Gwynedd Council, also commented on the new partnership ‘It was great to work with colleagues from the FE sector, and NGBs as part of a new team in developing the WCS Snowdonia Challenge 2017, This collaboration allowed all organisations to bring their skills and experience to the table with plans already underway for a bigger and better challenge in 2018.

It was not all hard work though with students enjoying the opportunity to camp locally and also enjoy a day of team building activity on Llyn Padarn. Activities included giant stand up paddle boarding and raft building with equipment provided by Snowdonia Watersports.

As CEO of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Dafydd Evans, said: 'It was a privilege for us to have been a part of this highly successful multi-college outdoor sports event, which was the first of its kind.  As well as being located here on our doorstep in Snowdonia -the perfect location for outdoor adventure- it was particularly good to see the camaraderie between all the students, even when they were in competing teams.  The general atmosphere was supportive and encouraging, well organised and a fantastic example of great partnership work between all the parties to the event.  The final flourish - we were blessed with two days of perfectly dry sunny weather."  

Snowdonia Challenge wasn’t just about the competing it was also a stimulus to bring learners from different colleges together and an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on learning and competing experiences. FE colleges continue to be committed to the outdoor industry and provide a sustainable supply of skilled individuals to support economic growth and success.