Further education colleges find their ‘EPIC’ in the new Snowdonia Challenge 2017

Further education colleges find their ‘EPIC’ in the new Snowdonia Challenge 2017

On 8 and 9 May, the North Wales mountains will welcome over 120 college students, 30+ staff and volunteers as they engage in a two day Snowdonia Outdoor Challenge. Competitors who study a range of outdoor and public services courses from colleges across Wales will develop their experience of working in the outdoors, developing leadership skills and building team work expertise.

Outdoor activity will include mountain biking, kayaking, bouldering and orienteering, learners will also have the opportunity to participate in teambuilding challenges and new adventures during the event. The sports have been chosen to reflect opportunities readily available in the outdoor environment in Wales without the need for expensive equipment or travel.

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “The outdoor sector is crucial to Wales, it promotes tourism, creates employment, contributes to the economy, and improves the health and well-being of our communities. The introduction of the Snowdonia Challenge event is a great continuum from last year’s Year of Adventure, and the ‘Find your Epic’ campaign which continues this year during our Year of Legends - a chance for people to create their own Welsh legend. FE colleges engagement in outdoor activity is crucial to the sustainable supply of skilled individuals in this industry, and I look forward to hearing of its success.”

Chief Executive of GLlM Dafydd Evans said, ‘We can’t wait to welcome people to North West Wales next week to actively promote how mastering these skills can lead to employment in this field in Wales. What an opportunity for our college learners as they gain hands on experience of outdoor activity organising, volunteering and participation. It will be a privilege to join them celebrate as I present the awards next Tuesday’.

The aim is to develop a renowned quality outdoor sports competition for 16-19 year olds in Wales, and it’s being organised in partnership by Welsh Colleges Sport (WCS), The Outdoor Partnership, ColegauCymru / CollegesWales and Coleg Menai (Grŵp Llandrillo Menai).

One of the partners, CEO Outdoor Partnership, Tracey Evans said ‘This is a really exciting development for the Outdoor Partnership engaging further with the FE sector across Wales and building on the success of our school’s programme in North Wales. It is fantastic to see the young people from FE colleges visiting North Wales to participate in this innovative new competition. I look forward to attending the competition and supporting staff and competitors on the day’.

Events will take place at Plas y Brenin National Outdoor Centre and Snowdonia Watersports centre, with groups camping locally making use of the fantastic campsites in the Snowdonia National Park.

Co-organiser, Rob Baynham ColegauCymru / Welsh Colleges Sport, said this event is the first of its kind for the FE sector in Wales and Welsh Colleges Sport with the aim of creating a regular event in the calendar. The response from partners has been first class with Canoe Wales, Welsh Cycling, volunteers and colleges supporting and/or delivering activity over the two days. We are also lucky to have a visiting team from Exeter college in Devon competing.

In supporting the industry of outdoor activity expand and grow and in keeping with the promotion and facilitation of health and well-being for the people of Wales, ColegauCymru’s vision is to develop a sustainable annual week long activity of outdoor and adventure challenges, competitions and training for post-16 college students across Wales, the UK and the World.