Iestyn Davies took up post of CEO of ColegauCymru in October 2015 having worked across a range of public policy areas since the arrival of devolution in 1999.
Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, he attended Swansea University where he studied Philosophy and Welsh and later gained his MA in Political Communication from JOMEC, Cardiff University’s centre for the study of media and journalism.
Having worked in the fields of business and economic policy, health, the creative arts as well as education, Iestyn has overall responsibility for and the mission and direction of the charity. He is currently completing and MBA researching the role of collective bargaining in the educations sector. Iestyn is a frequent contributor in the broadcast and print media on the subject of post 16 education and in particular the role of education in enabling mobility and enhancing economic and social cohesion.
Carolyn Thomas Director of Finance
Director of Finance
Julie Osman Director of Business Administration
Director of Business Administration
Claire Roberts External Affairs Director
External Affairs Director
Claire was appointed to the role of External Affairs Director at the beginning of August 2016. This role involes managing the External Affairs team whom together promote and represent ColegauCymru and colleges on the national media stage. Working to influence and shape government policy Claire and the team lobby all political parties to make sure they create policies that are beneficial to member colleges. Introducing a FE and Future Skills Cross Party Group in 2017, Claire briefs college CEOs/Principals on what is happening in political discussions and the External Affairs team feedback weekly political updates on matters concerning education, training and skills in Wales.
Joining ColegauCymru in October 2013, Claire was Director of Bilingualism leading on the implementation of the National Bilingual Strategy in colleges. She worked closely with the Bilingual Champions and with members of senior management teams in colleges to strive to develop and normalise Welsh / bilingual opportunities in post-16 education and training.
Before her appointment to ColegauCymru, Claire, whose from North Wales, graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a Business and Japanese degree and lived in Japan. On return to Wales she worked for Toyoda and the Welsh Language Board and Welsh Language Commissioner engaging businesses in the use of bilingualism.
Rachel Bowen Director of Policy and Development
Director of Policy and Development
Dr Rachel Bowen: Originally from Llanelli, I studied history at Cardiff University, obtaining a PhD in 2006. I have had a varied career to date, having spent time in the civil service (Equalities, Education and Agriculture Departments), as a music librarian at Cardiff Central Library, and working on pan-Wales public engagement projects at Cardiff University. In more recent years, I have focused on public policy, research and campaigning roles including periods at Mind Cymru and FSB Wales. Having maintained a keen interest in education and education policy throughout my career, I am currently Director of Policy and Development at ColegauCymru.
I am an improving Welsh learner and hope to continue to develop my Welsh language skills. I am also trying to learn Spanish via Duolingo but with more limited success!
I continue to teach adult learners and undergraduates at Cardiff University. My research interests cover the late medieval and early modern period. I am particularly interested in gender, sexuality and identity. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, running (especially visiting European cities to take part in marathons and half marathons) and endure/enjoy watching the Llanelli Scarlets and Cardiff Devils.
Sian Holleran European and International Coordinator
European and International Coordinator
Siân joined ColegauCymru / CollegesWales as its European and International Coordinator in November 2010. Sian’s main areas of work include coordinating a programme of overseas training opportunities for staff, learners and apprentices, acting for the Welsh Government as the National Contact Point for EU initiatives and selling Wales to the world through working collaboratively with international partners.
Siân is fluent in French, Spanish and Welsh and previously worked for CILT Cymru, the national centre for languages, promoting the learning of modern languages as a valuable skill for young people in an increasingly globalised world. Siân continues to share her love of languages and the cultures of other countries by promoting the benefits to young people of spending periods of time studying or working overseas. Siân also represents the FE sector on the steering group of Routes into Languages Cymru.
Rob Baynham Sports Coordinator
Gill Barclay Finance Officer
Amy Evans Public Affairs Assistant
Public Affairs Assistant
Amy graduated from Swansea University in 2011 with a degree in Media and Communications. She began her working life in John Lewis, while also volunteering for charities such as Marie Curie and the British Heart Foundation. After 5 years in the retail setting, she was successful in becoming ColegauCymru receptionist, before moving in to the role of Public Affairs Assistant in May 2017. Amy is also a fluent Welsh speaker.
Chris Denham ALN Transformation Lead FE
ALN Transformation Lead FE
Chris started out his career working within the construction industry in Surrey before completing his Cert Ed at Huddersfield Polytechnic and then moving to Pontypool to take up a lecturing post within the technology department. Chris was instrumental in setting up the first special needs link courses with Crownbridge Special School in the late 1980s and after some retraining, he developed a new full-time special needs programme at Pontypool. As this provision grew, he recognised the need for support within mainstream and so took an additional qualification in specific learning difficulties and established a support centre at the college.
Following incorporation and the creation of Coleg Gwent, Chris occupied several management posts before taking on the role of ALN Manager for Coleg Gwent in 2014. During this time he also represented the college on the Colegau Cymru ALN Network, performing the role of chair from 2014.
Chris has worked closely with the Welsh Government over the last four years to help shape the Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (ALNET) Act and Code of Practice. He took up his current post with Colegau Cymru in January 2018 and continues to support colleges in Wales as they prepare for the implementation of ALNET.
Hannah Murray Marketing and Communications Assistant
Marketing and Communications Assistant
After studying at Coleg y Cymoedd, Hannah began her career working within the marketing industry at a creative agency where she was able to develop her design and marketing skills. She then took up an internship with Youth Cymru as a Marketing and Communications assistant. Here she gained event management skills, delivered training and furthered her design and creative abilities.
Hannah is now applying these skills in her new role as Marketing and Communications assistant at ColegauCymru, assisting with events, campaigns and the Website. Hannah is a Fluent Welsh speaker.
Vicky Thomas Policy and Projects Assistant
Policy and Projects Assistant
Vicky Thomas joined CollegesWales in February 2018 as the Policy and Projects Administrator, after graduating from Coventry University. In September 2018, her role expanded to the Policy and Projects Assistant.
Vicky’s role includes supporting current and future projects undertaken by the Policy and Development team, as well as assisting on policy work. Vicky has worked on multiple projects including, Erasmus+ and International, ALN and Sports.
Emily Bright Receptionist / Administrator
Receptionist / Administrator
After completing her A levels at Whitchurch High school, Emily began her role at ColegauCymru as Receptionist/Administrator in 2017. Prior to this, Emily worked in both the hospitality and retail industry where she gained customer service skills that she uses daily in her current role.
Emily is the first point of contact in ColegauCymru welcoming visitors and guests, preparing meetings, managing diaries and appointments she also works with the team dealing with general administration.