THE new head of a leading land-based college (@ColegCambria Llysfasi) plans to grow their offering at the heart of the rural community.

Elin Roberts, site lead and Assistant Principal of Technical Studies at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, has spent her life in agriculture.

Having been raised on her family’s farm in Cwm Pennant, Gwynedd, she now farms alongside her husband Emyr at Melin y Wig, Corwen

Elin was a county organiser for the Young Farmers Clubs before joining Llysfasi at the turn of the century, spending many years as a lecturer.

A spell as the Learn Welsh Manager at Coleg Cambria Yale in Wrexham followed before she returned to Denbighshire in September to begin the academic year.

“I am honoured and proud to be the new head of Llysfasi and feel I’m back where I belong, at the heart of the agricultural community,” said Elin, mum to Gwenno, Elis, Eurgain and Heledd.

“There have been incredible advances in the few years I’ve been away, especially in terms of engineering, innovation and machinery, so there is a lot to attract students.

“But we can always look to improve, and that’s my aim; I want us to celebrate and champion the Welsh language, engage even more with our rural communities and deliver first-class teaching and learning – that is a top priority.”

Elin says there have been challenges due to the Coronavirus pandemic and second lockdown, but the college is well-placed to ensure the safety of staff and students given the make-up of the site, with many classes taking place outdoors.

The recent completion of the £1.2m rural education hub and plans for a carbon neutral farm are other appealing prospects for future learners, as are partnerships with innovative, pioneering organisations such as Kubota, Tilhill and AGCO.

“I want to shine a light on the opportunities that are available to young people in this region, especially south Denbighshire, as there are so many career prospects they might not be aware of,” said Elin.

“There is still a view that this is a traditional, male-dominated sector but the strides made in technology and equality are immeasurable, and that is evident here at Llysfasi.

“Agriculture has changed dramatically over the last two decades, there are lots of career pathways jobs in different sectors and youngsters can have a future in anything from forestry, the environment and conservation to countryside management, engineering and animal care and management.”

She added: “We have a strong identity, culture, and ethos but I want to strengthen that further, particularly in our celebration and preservation of the Welsh language – that is central to what we stand for.

“From the cutting edge technology we have onsite, to the pastoral care we deliver to more than 200 students and the variety in farming methods – from arable to precision agriculture – there is no better place to learn, and I am delighted to be taking things forward.”

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