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Big Learning comes to Carmarthen

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Committed to Carmarthen: The Big Learning Company

Committed to Carmarthen: The Big Learning Company

BIG LEARNING COMPANY – a Cardiff-based company that specialises in the Education; Information Communications Technology (ICT); Digital and Creative Sectors – has this month opened a Carmarthen office on the town’s University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Campus.

This internationally renowned company has already committed to being a part of Canolfan S4C Yr Egin but as the Centre won’t be opening its doors until early 2018, Big Learning Company (BLC) is keen to establish a base in West Wales with immediate effect.

The company’s CEO, Louise Harris says: “Big Learning Company is delighted to be associated with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Canolfan S4C Yr Egin – and is especially excited to be moving to Carmarthen at the beginning of this highly innovative ground-breaking project, working alongside the cream of Welsh education, the creative industries and the digital sectors.

“Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is incredibly important, not just for Carmarthen and rural West Wales – the heartland of the Welsh language – but for the whole of Wales, as a digital gateway to the rest of the world, where the best of Welsh talent and content, from education to industry, can find exciting new market opportunities.

“We’re very excited to be establishing an office on the University’s campus and to be developing our presence in Carmarthen as one of the company’s key hubs for product and service delivery,” adds Louise.

BLC delivers training, content and innovation projects in all areas of learning provision across Wales and across a range of ages, abilities and areas and works with internationally renowned brands.

“We pride ourselves on the impact we achieve whilst making learning exciting and enjoyable, equipping young people and professionals alike with valuable transferable skills, and developing progression routes to education and the workplace, with digital technology, creative sector engagement and ingenuity at the heart of what we do.

“At BLC we have made it our mission to offer flexible learning opportunities and sustainable pathways to education and work. We have also developed innovative digital evaluation tools, to allow us accurately to measure the impact and affect that our programmes and products have,” continues Louise Harris.

Bilingualism is also at the heart of BLC’s work and it’s already delivered a range of exciting Welsh-medium projects with National organisations including S4C and Yr Urdd, including coding and digital training workshops for young people. BLC recently worked with the University, S4C and Carmarthenshire County Council to deliver a Welsh-medium ‘World of Work Day,’ introducing Year 12 students from schools within the county to the types of jobs or disciplines that are likely to be represented within Canolfan S4C Yr Egin.

“We are very pleased to have such a dynamic and successful company as Big Learning Company committed to being part of Canolfan S4C Yr Egin. Indeed, such is the company’s commitment to the development – and to Carmarthen – that it’s already established a base on the University’s campus” says Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

“This is great news for the University and for the town’s economy. The fact that a company such as Big Learning Company wants to move to Carmarthen, even before Canolfan S4C Yr Egin opens its doors, attests its commitment to our vision for the development. We look forward to working with Big Learning Company and we warmly welcome the team to Carmarthen,” adds Gwilym Dyfri Jones.

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Farming

Farming faces zero carbon challenge

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AN AMBITIOUS new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 will lead to significant changes in farming practices over the coming decades, according to a leading agri-environment specialist.

Professor Iain Donnison, Head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University, was responding to the publication of ‘Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’ published by the UK Government Committee on Climate Change.

Professor Donnison is an expert on agriculture and land use, which feature in the report in terms of targets for one-fifth of agricultural land to be used for forestry, bioenergy crops and peatland restoration.

According to Professor Donnison, such a reduction is very ambitious but achievable in Wales and the wider UK. “Land use can positively contribute towards achieving the net zero targets, but there are challenges in relation to emissions from agriculture especially associated with red meat and dairy,” said Professor Donnison.

“In IBERS we are already working on how to make livestock agriculture less carbon intensive and developing new diversification options for the farming of carbon. For example, net zero targets could provide significant diversification opportunities for both farmers and industries that make use of biomass and wood for the production of energy, materials including in construction and for wider environmental benefits.”

Professor Donnison added: “The report gives a clear message regarding the importance of the task and the role that the UK can play to compensate for past emissions and to help play a leadership role in creating a greener future.

“The report says it seeks to be based on current technologies that can be deployed and achievable targets. One-fifth of agricultural land is a very ambitious target but I believe that through the approaches proposed it is achievable (e.g. for bioenergy crops it fits in with published targets for the UK). This is based on the knowledge and technologies we have now regarding how to do this, and because right now in the UK we are developing a new agricultural policy that looks beyond the common agriculture policy (CAP). For example, the 25-year Environment plan published by Defra envisages payment for public goods which could provide a policy mechanism to help ensure that the appropriate approaches are implemented in the appropriate places.

“The scale of the change, however, should not be underestimated, although agriculture is a sector that has previously successfully responded to challenges such as for increased food production. The additional challenge will be to ensure that we deliver all the benefits we wish to see from land: food, carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) management and wider environmental benefits, whilst managing the challenge of the impacts of climate change.

“The link is made between healthy diets with less red meat consumption and future reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. This reflects that agriculture will likely go through significant change over the coming decades as a result of changes in consumer diets.

“Net Zero targets, however, could provide significant diversification opportunities for both farmers and industries that make use of biomass and wood for the production of energy, materials including in construction and for wider environmental benefits.”

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Farming

HSE fees up 20%

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A FEE imposed on farm businesses found to be in breach of health and safety legislation has gone up nearly 20% to £154/hr.

Since October 2012 the Health and Safety Executive has operated a cost recovery regime, which means that businesses are charged for the costs of an investigation from the point a material breach has been identified through to the point when a decision is made on enforcement action.

If you are found to be in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right. This includes investigating and taking enforcement action. This charging scheme is known as a Fee for Intervention (FFI).

Robert Gazely, farm consultant and health and safety specialist for Strutt & Parker said: “A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken. Once an inspector gives a farmer this written notification of contravention (NoC), the farmer will be expected to pay a fee.

“From 6 April 2019, the hourly charge has been increased from £129 to £154. The final bill will be based on the total amount of time it takes the HSE inspector to identify the breach and their work to help put things right.

“Of course, the primary reason for farms to be proactive in their approach to health and safety should be to protect themselves, their families and any employees.

“The number of people who are killed and injured each year on farms remains stubbornly high and the human cost of these incidents can be incalculable to those affected.

“But taking a safety-first approach should also help farm businesses to avoid a financial hit, as the HSE fees can mount up in the event of an investigation.”

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Red meat gives ‘Taste of Wales’

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WELSH Lamb and Welsh Beef were among the finest of Welsh foods at Wales’ largest and most prestigious food and drink trade event, Taste Wales last month.

The remarkable display of products, all under one roof, brought together a large contingent of UK and overseas buyers, including importers with a specific interest in Welsh red meat. These included a major foodservice and retail importer and distributor from Scandinavia that imports 6,000 million tonnes of meat annually from all over the world. The company is recognised for bringing tasty food experiences to Nordic dining tables.

They were invited to the event by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) who also arranged site visits to some of Wales’ major red meat processing plants. The main aim was to impress the importers with the industry’s high ethical and environmental standards.

The visit, led by HCC’s market representatives in Scandinavia, was a platform for many productive and promising discussions.

One representative, Anette Stenebrandt said at Taste Wales: “We have a company from Sweden and Finland with us, trying to do some new business in the Nordic-speaking countries. This is really a fantastic fair and we have enjoyed it a lot.”

Her colleague Jakob True added: “This is our first time here at this amazing event, it’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of Welsh producers, particularly Welsh Lamb which is world-class, we know. We’ll go back to Scandinavia with a lot of good new leads and hopefully bring a lot of business to Wales.”

HCC’s Market Development Manager, Rhys Llywelyn said: “Many of the buyers we met at Taste Wales, including the Scandinavians, showed a significant interest in Welsh Lamb and were impressed by the whole package – from the story of producing Welsh Lamb to the processing techniques, the taste and texture.

“Others also expressed a keen interest in forging deals with the industry, including a Japanese department store, a major buyer from Hong Kong and a representative from Qatar. This bodes well for the future, especially as Brexit uncertainty is set to continue in light of the extension on Article 50.”

In recent months, HCC has undertaken a strategic GB marketing drive to encourage growth and recognition of our quality produce on British soil.

HCC’s UK Market Development Executive, Emily Davies said: “Our presence at Taste Wales also included concentrating our efforts on promoting Welsh Lamb in the domestic market. We met a number of foodservice companies, retailers and executive chefs and discussed Welsh red meat opportunities with meal-kit companies and online retailers. We also launched a new tool-kit for retailers which highlights the ways in which we can work with them to promote Welsh Lamb and Beef.”

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