A second CPD webinar: a dose of lunch time learning

Professional Development Team and Dr Nick Niven-Jenkins preparing for the lunchtime webinar

Underwriters and Claims Assessors from some of the top UK insurance and reinsurance companies benefitted from another successful webinar ran by Cardiff University as part of their on-going Medical Underwriting CPD offering to the insurance sector.  All 100 places for the webinar were taken; with some companies showing it on a screen in their offices so a number of staff could take part together.

Feedback from the participants showed the webinar to be a big hit, with one delegate stating it was “very enjoyable, informative and discussed conditions in a way which was straightforward and easily understandable”.

To ensure the webinar had minimal impact on an organisation’s day-to-day operations it was organised over a lunch hour.  Participants heard a presentation on Cardiology, specifically Arrhythmias including symptoms, prognosis, and treatments.  Participants were invited to take part in interactive polls and ask questions that were answered by the presenter during the session. Key points were tweeted during the session and a full recording of the webinar was made available to download.

Following the success of these webinars a third is being planned for December 2013.  The topic will be chosen based on the feedback received from those who took part and responses to Tweets.

Business Development Manager, Clare Sinclair said: “Cardiff University has an award winning track record in providing specialist medical professional development for the insurance sector.  The courses we run are delivered by using a mix of online and face-to-face teaching so delivering the webinar seemed an appropriate method to use to introduce learners to the type of teaching to expect on our courses and the education experience they will have.”

Cardiff University has over 10 years’ experience at delivering specialised Continuing Professional Development courses for the medical insurance sector.  Previous courses have greatly impacted the organisations that attended via cost savings from reduced cases being referred to external medical experts, reduced errors and improved quality of decisions, quicker decision making, improved customer service, increased delegate confidence, and increased confidence from reinsurers.

For further information on the course, please visit www.cardiff.ac.uk/train or call 029 2087 5274.

30 years of friendship between Cardiff and Xiamen at the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival


People celebrating

On the evening of 1st October 2013, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival reception organised by Cardiff Confucius Institute took place in the Council Chamber, Main Building of Cardiff University.

80 attendees from the Welsh Government, National Centre for Languages in Wales, Cardiff County Council, Cardiff University, South Wales Chinese Association, and local primary and secondary schools got together to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Cardiff and Xiamen.

The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Derrick Morgan made a keynote speech. He said: “We in Cardiff are proud of our twinning link with the city of Xiamen. As I’m sure many of you have known, in 1983 Cardiff became the first city in the UK to twin with Xiamen in the People’s Republic of China.

“Over the past 30 years the relationship between the two cities has been built on a varied mix of cultural, economic and education-related activities – including the Confucius Classrooms initiative which gives school children the opportunity to learn Mandarin as part of their curriculum.”

The Executive Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Prof Anthony Beresford said:  “Welcome to everyone attending what I am sure will be a lively and enjoyable evening combining the performing arts, Chinese language and culture in a rich and engaging way. It is very appropriate that we are here in one of Cardiff’s most beautiful and prestigious buildings which combines the principles of learning, history and culture in such an inspirational setting. The activities planned for tonight for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival enable us to step a little way outside our normal range of experience and to enjoy the full cultural richness that the Chinese Martial Arts, Music, Dance and Traditional Costumes can provide.”

The Academic Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Dr Xueyi Zhu said: “The Mid-Autumn Festival consists of three fundamental meanings: gathering, thanksgiving and hoping. I would like borrow these three fundamental meanings to extend big thanks to all of you. Many thanks for coming to make this happy gathering come true. Many thanks for giving strong support and collaboration in our Mandarin Chinese teaching both in Cardiff University and schools in Wales. We also look forward to our multilevel and multifaceted cooperations in the future.”

The attendees were fascinated by the Chinese musician and very much enjoyed the Chinese Martial art and folk dance performed by the Confucius Institute at London South Bank University.

Finally the guests played their favourite Mid-Autumn Bo Bing game, which is a unique celebrating activity in Xiamen characteristics, and also has been a traditional programme of Cardiff Confucius Institute as the game well combining culture, folk custom and recreation.

One year after another, Cardiff Confucius Institute has been changing, developing and growing, however, what is remained all the time is the Reunion and Harmony symbolised by the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Engaging Stakeholders: The Surprising Truth

How do high performers engage people differently? A recent study by Patrick Mayfield, Managing Director of Pearcemayfield posed this question and drew some startling conclusions, particularly around identifying where the attention and effort of high performers actually focused.Cardiff University Project Management Alumni event

Patrick, author of Practical People Engagement, presented his findings at a recent Cardiff University Project Management Alumni event and ran a workshop to discuss some key issues raised. The presentation centred on the traits shown by high performing project managers. These ‘Alpha Traits’ were in three key areas – self-awareness, time invested in relationship building and allocating time to deal with the ‘unexpected’.

Patrick Mayfield observed: “Once again I was struck by the familiar challenges the Alumni shared about the difficulties posed by the people they work with. There are some very simple solutions, but we have been taught to look in the wrong places. I’m encouraged that, increasingly, we are seeing professionals leading people to significantly better outcomes. In these cases, everybody wins.”

Insights into the session were sent as ‘twitter teasers’ before the event with key points being tweeted live during the workshop via @CardiffUniCPD

Clare Sinclair from Cardiff University commented: “We selected the topic for the annual Project Management Alumni event as it was based on a current study that would provide useful and practical insights to help in the day-to-day job. During the event there was a real buzz in the room with interaction during the workshop being high.  Feedback from the session was very positive with the 2-hour breakfast format being praised as working well for busy project managers.”

Cardiff University’s homework club support expands with new partnership

Cardiff University’s flagship Student Tutor Project has teamed up with Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) to increase the provision they offer to school pupils and communities in some of the most deprived areas of Cardiff.

Together Cardiff University and SVC will be supporting 12 local community based homework clubs this year, many of which have pupils that are from families who have little or no history of going to university. They include Adamsdown Homework Club, Tremorfa Homework Club, Riverside Homework Club, ACE Homework Club, Somali Education Foundation Homework Club, Willows High School, Michaelston Community College and Glyn Derw High School. New areas, Llanrumney, Ely and Pentrebane, are also being added to the list.

42 Student Tutors, many of whom are the first in their family to attend university, have been recruited and trained to provide tutoring and mentoring support to the local homework clubs. The Student Tutors commit at least 3 hours per week to work in in the homework clubs, primarily tutoring in Maths and English to help improve the pupils’ grades. They also work to increase the awareness of Higher Education opportunities and promote aspirations of university education.

Sharifo, a parent of children that attend the Adamsdown Homework Club, said: “I’ve got two daughters that attend the Homework Club. They both attend Adamsdown Primary School and they have noticed the benefits. They say ‘I like to go to Cardiff University’ or ‘I can’t wait to get to Cardiff University’. They can’t wait to grow up.”

Student Tutor Project Co-ordinator Liena Abu Laban said: “The new partnership with SVC is a very positive move forward. As a result we have been able to increase provision from 7 homework clubs to 12 12 this year to meet the increasing demand in the community – which is exactly what Keith Towler, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales asked for in the Child Poverty Strategy 2012 Onwards.”

Not only does the project address attainment and aspiration issues regarding Higher Education, but it also offers immense benefits to the Student Tutors. The work as a student tutor increases the undergraduates’ employability skills by giving them work experience, training and a wealth of knowledge and insight into working with young people – particularly useful for those who are considering teaching as a career.

SVC Manager Adrienne Earls said: “SVC is delighted to be working in partnership with the Widening Access Department on the ‘Student Tutor Project’. This will offer some fantastic new volunteering opportunities for students to gain experience of working in a diverse variety of homework clubs across the local community, and teach the students invaluable skills for their personal development and future employment. It is also a great opportunity to strengthen our links and highlight the many benefits of working together in partnership.”

Last year the project was praised by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Children’s Commissioner for Wales Keith Towler. It is hoped that the new partnership with SVC and the subsequent growth will make it another successful year.

Six adult learners have progressed onto degrees at Cardiff University

Exploring the Past BrochureThe Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning is pleased to announce that six students have successfully completed the Exploring the Past Pathway and will be starting their degrees at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion in the next few weeks.

Dan Jewson, one of the students progressing, said: “I will be starting an undergraduate degree in history in September 2013.  This would not have been possible without Exploring the Past. I have been given an opportunity to get back into academic study after a long break. The courses have helped me gain the necessary credits to progress to an undergraduate degree programme. Further, they have given me the confidence and self-belief to feel I can be successful at undergraduate study. Thank you to everyone associated with Exploring the Past.  Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.”

As part of the pathway students were encouraged to take part in a series of archaeological digs alongside professional archaeologists at Ham Hill, Dinas Powys and Caerau. Student Janet Maurice attended the dig on an iron-age hillfort at Ham Hill. She said: “The excavation technique was entirely new to me but also how the lead archaeologists took the bits of evidence from many different sections of the dig and from different techniques. The most interesting thing was the discovery of the artefacts. When I was there quite a few were revealed including two pig skulls, pots and bits of pots and best of all a Neolithic flint scraper. I am totally convinced I want to do archaeology. The collating of the information is very time consuming but produces amazing results.”

Exploring the Past is a unique progression pathway that is made up of six 10-credit modules in archaeology, religious studies and history. The pathway is collaboration between the Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University and its framework and environment is designed specifically to cater for the needs of busy adult learners.

The Pathway Co-ordinator Dr Richard Marsden said: “All of us who work on Exploring the Past are incredibly proud to be involved in it and with the students who study it. This year another group of adults from a wide range of backgrounds are progressing onto degrees. Their achievement really shows that hard work and enthusiasm does pay off.”

The Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning currently offers another five Pathways, including: Accounting and Finance; Business and Management; Modern Languages or Translation; and Social Sciences. Two new pathways we will be added to the programme in January, leading to degrees in English Literature, English Language, Philosophy and Journalism.

Confucius Classroom launched at Cathays High School

Cardiff Confucius Institute recently celebrated the launch of a Confucius Classroom at Cathays High School, Cardiff – bringing the total up to 11 Confucius Classrooms across Wales.

With their dedicated teachers from China, Confucius Classrooms are able to offer pupils Mandarin as part of their curriculum, as well as adapting subject areas such as History and Geography to include fascinating insights into China. Chinese teachers at the Confucius Classrooms also extend their teaching activities to other schools in their catchment areas, making extra-curricular and more regular teaching of Chinese available to many schools that might not otherwise have the resources or funding to deliver such enrichment.

The Cathays High School Confucius Classroom was launched on Monday 15th July 2013 by Mr Feng Zhi, the second secretary of the Education section of the Chinese Embassy, with representatives from the Welsh Government, the British Council and Cardiff Confucius Institute also in attendance.

The launch evening included musical performances from pupils at Cathays High School and a traditional Chinese tea Ceremony, as well as a tour of the dedicated Confucius Classroom, which was brightly decorated with Chinese crafts and examples of pupils work.

Eluned Davies- Scott, Head of Community Education and the teacher responsible for the Confucius Classroom at Cathays High said: “It is a really exciting time for Cathays High School’s partnership with China. We are delighted to be one of about 400 Confucius Classrooms that have been established in over 100 countries, demonstrating once again the truly international status of Cathays High School. We are a school that believes in opportunities for all and with China at the centre of the global economy the next generation will need to understand its culture and be able to work in its language.”

Cathays High is one of 11 Confucius Classrooms across Wales which form part of the Wales China Schools initiative managed by Cardiff University’s Confucius Institute. The school intends to develop Mandarin GCSE at the school, as well as using its Confucius classroom status to build partnerships with other primary and secondary schools to develop opportunities for Mandarin Language acquisition.

Rachel Williams, Cardiff Confucius Institute’s School’s Manager stated: “We are especially pleased to be able to participate in the formal launch of Cathays Confucius Classroom. This Classroom has been established in partnership with the Confucius Institute, based at Cardiff University, and reflects five years of partnership during which Chinese tutors from Cardiff University have been delivering courses at the school.”

Highly Commended Tutor

Jonathan Gunter with his certificateWe are proud to announce that Jonathan Gunter, who teaches at the Cardiff University Centre for Lifelong Learning, has received a Highly Commended Essential Skills for Life Award from NIACE Dysgu Cymru.

Jonathan was nominated for his work with youth groups and his development of foundation level courses primarily in music, media, business and social enterprise on the Live Local Learn Local programme.

Working in South East Cardiff, Jonathan has successfully administered many informal accreditations to disadvantaged young people. Through courses, community events, workshops and youth clubs he has helped many young people realise their potential.

Tracy Breadmore-Lammas, Live Local Learn Local Project Co-ordinator at Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning, said: “Through his work with the youth in his local area, Jonathan saw an opportunity to use their interests and current activity to develop their skills and confidence for their future careers. By engaging them on courses that meet their specific needs, he has introduced them to future learning opportunities within Higher Education, a path that many had not previously considered.”

By going the extra mile with his teaching, Jonathan has created many exciting opportunities for his learners. As part of a social enterprise course he arranged for the students to present their business plans they had written in class to a ‘Dragons Den’ style panel that consisted of business mentors, community organisations, funding bodies and banks. He has also designed a research methods course for a youth group that introduced them to the foundational aspects of designing and delivering a basic research project.

Jonathan graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Psychology in 2006 and went on to study an MSc in Policy Research at Bristol University in 2007. He is now studying towards a PhD at Glamorgan University, which focuses on partnership work in community regeneration and youth work environments, whilst working as a Tutor on the Live Local Learn Local programme.

A visit from Xiamen University leaders

Vice Chancellor and the delegation holding up a Chinese pictureA senior delegation from Xiamen University has visited the University to find out more about how Cardiff and Xiamen can work together in the future.

Led by Zhan Xinli, Vice President of Xiamen University, the delegates  met with Cardiff’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Colin Riordan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation & Engagement, Professor Hywel Thomas and the Director of the University’s International Office, Richard Cotton

Professor Riordan commended the positive role Cardiff Confucius Institute had been playing in promoting exchanges and cooperation between Cardiff and Xiamen and expressed his hope that more scholars and students from Cardiff might get a chance to visit or study in Xiamen University.

Vice President Zhan Xinli put forward her constructive opinions concerning the bilateral development and cooperation and she made it clear that Xiamen University will do everything possible to support Cardiff Confucius Institute in order to actively promote the overall and multi-lateral cooperation and exchanges between the two universities.

Executive Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Professor Anthony Beresford said: “The Confucius Institute not only provides comprehensive services for promoting Chinese language and culture but also has become a platform and a bridge for exchange, through which more Cardiff University students and staff should be involved in the future.”

Launch of new foreign language courses for businesses

As Export Week takes place, Cardiff University’s Professional Development Team would like to announce the new language provision designed specifically for businesses.

A recent British Chamber of Commerce survey shows that 61% of businesses consider a lack of foreign language skills to be a trade barrier. The new foreign language courses will help support local business to overcome this challenge.

Developed in consultation with local businesses and support organisations, the language courses, currently in French,  German and Chinese are scheduled to take place in June and July. In response to the recent British Academy report which highlights that languages are needed at all levels, the courses have been developed for people with different experience in foreign  language learning. Each course will be specifically targeted to business needs and will fit around work commitments.

Clare Sinclair, Business Development Manager, said: “Export Week takes place to promote the value of exporting to businesses around the UK; it’s fantastic that we are able to unveil our business language courses during this key time of the year”.

The new business language courses expand on the current language learning provision the University offers. Dr Catherine Chabert, Co-Dean of Cardiff Centre for Lifelong Learning and foreign language specialist, said: “Our language courses are wide-ranging, covering a spectrum of languages spoken around the world. I welcome the new language for businesses courses to our provision and I urge local businesses to come and take advantage of our expertise.”

Examples of the kind of training on offer include short half day sessions for those who have not learnt a language before but want to be able to meet and greet international visitors, to more intensive training for those who want to develop their existing skills to be able to use them in a professional context.  Bespoke training is also on offer for organisations with specific language needs.

Further information on the new courses can be found on the Cardiff University website: cardiff.ac.uk/train/languages