Meet the ColegauCymru Team.
About David Hagendyk
David has worked in leadership, campaigning and policy development roles in Wales for the last eighteen years. He joined ColegauCymru in October 2022, having spent seven years at the Learning and Work Institute Cymru as the Director for Wales.
Before joining L&WI, he also worked for seven years as the General Secretary of Welsh Labour. Prior to this he was the Political Liaison Officer for the University and College Union Cymru, as the Welsh Labour Head of Policy, and has worked as a researcher for Huw Lewis AM and Lynne Neagle AM.
Director of Finance
About Carolyn Thomas
Carolyn has worked in the further education sector since 1991, having previously been an accountant for a small college. She has worked as CollegesWales Finance Director since 2004 and is a fellow of the ACCA.
Director of Development
About Kelly Edwards
Kelly leads the CollegesWales Development Programme which aims to enrich the learning experience and enhance learning outcomes for the further education sector. She works with the Principals’ Forum and the Board of Directors to ensure the Programme is aligned to the vision and mission of the charity.
Director of Policy and Public Affairs
About Rachel Cable
Rachel Cable leads the ColegauCymru Policy and Public Affairs Team, ensuring our work is in line with the organisation’s strategic objectives.
Prior to joining ColegauCymru, Rachel spent 15 years working in policy, campaigns and advocacy in Wales, including for Universities Wales, and coordinating campaigns for a Member of Parliament. Rachel also headed up Oxfam Cymru’s multi-disciplinary team across policy, advocacy, media, and education, including chairing the Disasters Emergency Committee Cymru.
Alongside these roles, Rachel is a school governor and has acted as a charity trustee for a students’ union.
Project Manager - European and International
About Siân Holleran
Siân joined CollegesWales as European and International Coordinator in November 2010. Her 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. She 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 further education sector on the steering group of Routes into Languages Cymru.
Project Manager - Sport and Well-being
About Rob Baynham
With over 20 years’ experience in the further education sector, Rob has been involved in a wide variety of regional and national initiatives and projects with the current focus moving towards the development of Active Wellbeing and sporting opportunities in FE.
As Project manager for Active Wellbeing for FE in Wales, Rob’s responsibilities include managing Welsh Colleges Sport and developing participation, volunteering and sporting pathways for FE students. Since Rob joined CollegesWales in 2014, an additional 4,000+ FE learners per year have participated in new activity on various initiatives with new partnerships, events, systems and projects being introduced.
Raising the profile of FE sport and Active Wellbeing remain a priority for this work.
About Gill Barclay
Gill works as CollegesWales' Finance Officer. Additional to this role, she leads on the IT support and facilities management of the organisation.
ALN Transformation Lead FE
About Chris Denham
Chris' career started working in the construction industry in Surrey before completing his Cert Ed at Huddersfield Polytechnic and then moving to Pontypool to take up a lecturing post at Pontypool College. 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 ColegauCymru ALN Network, performing the role of Chair from 2014.
Chris has worked closely with 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 CollegesWales in January 2018 and continues to support colleges across Wales as they prepare for the implementation of ALNET.
About Lucy Hopkins
Lucy manages our communications and marketing activities, in line with the organisation’s strategic objectives. She ensures our communications are both influential, informative and appropriate to our stakeholders.
About Amy Evans
Amy graduated from Swansea University in 2011 with a degree in Media and Communications. Following 5 years in the retail sector, she joined CollegesWales as a Receptionist. In May 2017, she took on the the role of Public Affairs Assistant and since March 2020 has been working as our Policy Officer. Amy is a fluent Welsh speaker.
Office and Governance Manager
About Rachel Rimanti
Rachel manages the internal processes and procedures for ColegauCymru. She is also the primary contact for all things governance. Rachel joined ColegauCymru in February 2020 and is a fluent Welsh Speaker.
Policy and Public Affairs Assistant
About Jamie Adair
Jamie joined the ColegauCymru Policy and Public Affairs team from the Welsh Sports Association in April 2022. Before this, he graduated from Swansea University with an MA in Politics and BA in History.
His role is to represent institutions of further education on the national stage, working closely with MSs in the Senedd and with Welsh Government officials, undertaking research and analysis to help develop public policy recommendations.
Jamie is Swansea City season ticket holder and a huge sports fan. He follows football, tennis, darts, golf, snooker and Formula 1.
About Vicky Thomas
Vicky joined CollegeWales in 2022. Working as a Project Officer in the Development Team, she leads and manages our international work, including the Erasmus+ Learner and Staff projects.
Strategic Advisor – WBL and Employability
About Jeff Protheroe
Jeff is the key point of contact for Welsh Government and other relevant bodies in the sector. He supports the Organisation to formulate sector responses to policy proposals including changes to funding streams, qualification reform, and curriculum development and contribute to apprenticeship framework reviews. He undertakes research to shape and influence policy and develops close links with leaders in colleges to optimise collaboration and innovative solutions. Jeff also convenes working groups and lead on the development and submission of grant applications and other relevant bids for funding on behalf of the FE sector to enhance WBL and employability outcomes.
Communications and Events Assistant
About Hollie Mitchell
Hollie joined the ColegauCymru in September 2023, after graduating from Swansea University with a BA in Media and Communications. Her role as a Communications and Events Assistant involves supporting the organisation with stakeholder events, social media and marketing activities.