What do people think of the Skills Challenge Certificate?

What do learners, universities and employers think of the Welsh Baccalaureate and the Skills Challenge Certificate? How has it helped learners make the transition to further study or employment?

In this section you’ll find real life examples of learners who say the Skills Challenge Certificate has not only helped them win a place at university but has also boosted their confidence. 

There’s also an example of how Swansea City FC is using the SCC to stimulate ideas among students that can improve the matchday experience for their young fans, and a link to a video with a range of views from employers.

Teleri Roberts – Liverpool University

Teleri Roberts understands the value of the Welsh Bacc's Skills Challenge Certificate after it helped her get a place at university. 

“I have no doubt that the SCC helped me secure my place at Liverpool University to study veterinary medicine, the course I always wanted to study,” she said. 

A former pupil at Alun School in Mold, Flintshire she studied Biology, Maths, Chemistry and the Advanced Welsh Bacc in sixth form. 

Deciding what course you want to do in University is a challenging decision, but make sure you pick the right one that suits your interests, your work ethic and your ambitions,” she said. 

The beauty of studying the SCC at A-level is that you can shape it to exactly what you want to be learning and researching. You can make it exactly what universities are wanting to see in an applicant. 

Dive deep into your topic of interest and make full use of the amazing opportunity that the SCC gives you!”  

As part of her Community Challenge, Teleri ran a ‘zoo club’ in school, while her Individual Project focussed on the issue of designer dogs. 

“The biology department has amazing creatures that we let the children look at and learn from,” she said. “I was able to deliver mini lessons to the lower school pupils as part of the Community Challenge to help them understand the importance of looking after animals properly. 

Teleri investigated the veterinary courses of different universities, including the research they had carried out, to enable her to stand out at interview. She discovered that one of the main issues was the subject of designer dogs. 

While planning my Individual Project I became very passionate about the issue of designer dogs. During my university interview I was told by an interviewer that they were astounded at the terminology I used. 

“They added that they would never expect an applicant straight from sixth form to have that depth of knowledge and use the correct terminology about the subject. 

I can only give the Welsh Bacc's SCC the credit for this, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to study it at my school.

Alaw Williams – Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, Caernarfon

Studying for the Skills Challenge Certificate has been a very enjoyable and worthwhile exercise for pupils at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon. 

Many of them have credited the Welsh Bacc's Skills Challenge Certificate with helping them move into further education. 

One of them, Alaw Williams, is now studying Forensic Science at Liverpool John Moore University. 

“I’ve learned valuable skills whilst studying the Skills Challenge Certificate which boosted my confidence in preparation for university,” she said. “Thanks to the Welsh Bacc I’m confident to present to an audience.” 

Another former pupil, Hero Douglas, achieved an A* for the Skills Challenge Certificate and has moved on to study music at Oxford University. 

“The Skills Challenge Certificate helped me achieve the grades I needed to get into Oxford University,” she said. “It also helped me gain valuable skills that helped me with my other A levels. 

“It is a challenging and inspiring course.”

Swansea City Supporters Trust and Dwr-y-Felin School, Neath

How do you encourage young people to take an active role in the activities of one of Wales’ top football clubs? The answer is the Welsh Baccalaureate. 

When Swansea City Supporters Trust wanted more young people to join the Trust, they found the Skills Challenge Certificate element of the Welsh Bacc provided the perfect answer. 

Trust board members Sian Davies and Roger Goodwin, who have worked in education for many years, worked with Emma Vincent, one of WJEC’s Welsh Bacc Regional Support Officers, to develop an Enterprise and Employability Challenge with the aim of raising the profile of the Supporters’ Trust and of Swansea City. 

The Challenge required young people to work in small teams to design and develop an idea to supply a product or service at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium to improve a young fan’s matchday experience. 

Dwr-y-Felin School in Neath piloted the Challenge, with some 250 pupils taking part. Working together, the Welsh Bacc Manager for Neath Port Talbot, Karen Thomas, the school’s Welsh Bacc co-ordinator, Sarah Powell, and Sian developed a teachers’ pack that included a lesson plan, an information sheet on the Challenge as well as details of the Supporters Trust, a PowerPoint presentation and an activity sheet on the Trust for pupils to complete. 

The pack can now be used by any other school taking on the challenge. 

Sian spoke to groups of pupils to discuss their ideas and describe the activities of the Trust. She also took part in the assessment of some of their presentations. 

“The ideas that the pupils came up with were outstanding and very imaginative,” said Sian. They far exceeded expectations and very often took into account environmental and disability issues. 

“Ideas included a spa, collectable cards, face painting, a grandparent club, apps and blindsight. 

Pupils had the opportunity to show off their work to two Swans legends – Leon Britton and Lee Trundle who are now club ambassadors. They visited the school and spoke with pupils about their work. 

“The visit by Leon and Lee was superb,” said Sian. “It was the ideal end to the whole process of the Challenge. 

“It was very motivating, not only for the pupils that had completed the Challenge but also to those pupils who will undertake the Challenge next summer.” 

The school’s Welsh Bacc co-ordinator Sarah Powell said:I would definitely work with the Supporters’ Trust again as pupils have developed a range of new skills including team building, working to deadlines and oral skills. 

“Feedback from the pupils was very positive and many said it gave them a reason to learn because it gave them a reward at the end, such as visiting the Liberty Stadium and meeting some of the players. 

“They said it had enabled them to develop a range of skills that will help them in future, including building up their self-confidence to speak in front of people they didn’t know, and other skills that will be needed in the world of work.” 

The Supporters Trust and school are now discussing implementing some of the ideas with the club to improve the matchday experience of young fans, and will start with a face painting stall before kick-off. 

For more information about the Supporters Trust and the teachers pack, contact Sian Davies – sian.davies@swanstrust.co.uk or Roger Goodwin – roger.goodwin@swanstrust.co.uk 

Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, University of Bath

The University of Bath recognises the value that the Welsh Baccalaureate's Skills Challenge Certificate has in preparing students for university-level study. 

We see the value of project-based work, as it ensures that those who have completed a substantive piece of independent research are already demonstrating skills and qualities needed for success on a degree course.  

To support students and teachers the University of Bath has, in partnership with Aberystwyth University, developed a free MOOC (massive on-line open course) which is available through Futurelearn (www.futurelearn.com). 

The course runs several times a year, lasts a couple of weeks, and requires 2-3 hours of activity by participants. In addition to material from the academic skills and library staff at the two universities it also includes input from the National Library of Wales, Qualifications Wales, and WJEC exam board. As of January 2019, 1300 students have taken the course, and versions are available in English and Welsh. 

In recognition of the value and extra work expected of students taking the Baccalaureate SCC, the University of Bath will make students an alternate offer if they apply for any degree except in the Department of Mathematics. 

Achieving a B grade in the SCC will reduce the A-level requirements by one grade, so for example an A*AA grade for Mechanical Engineering becomes AAA at A-level plus a B in the Skills Challenge Certificate. 

It is important to note that the topic of the project does not have to relate specifically to the chosen degree course.