UWTSD Early Years graduate shortlisted in the 2019 British Education Awards


Karen Llewellyn, a recent BA Early Years Education and Care graduate from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has been shortlisted as a finalist at this year’s British Education Awards (BEA).

Karen Llewellyn

As one of the three Welsh finalists nominated in the ‘degree’ category at this year’s Awards, Karen is delighted that her achievements have been recognised by the judging panel and is now forward to attending the ceremony which takes place in Manchester on January 31st

The British Education Awards (BEA) were established to promote excellence in British education – identifying and celebrating individuals who have excelled within the education system.  

A panel of expert judges decide the winners with nominees being judged on a number of criteria including grades, extra-curricular activities, community awareness and entrepreneurship.

“I’m really looking forward to the Awards ceremony,” says Karen who was one of the first cohort of students to graduate from UWTSD’s innovative two-year flexible BA Early Years Education and Care (Early Years Practitioner Status) degree programme.

“Being nominated in the degree category and being one of the three Welsh finalists is a real honour.  I graduated last December with a first class honours degree – and I’m still celebrating!” continues Karen.

Karen, who previously worked as a Childminder in Swansea is now lecturing at Gower College, Swansea inspiring the next generation of learners.

“I really enjoyed the course and although it was hard work, I gained so much knowledge which I’ve now been able to transfer to my new teaching role.

“I was a registered childminder for 13 years and was still doing that whilst I was also studying for my degree. Doing the degree gave me the confidence to apply for a full-time position at Gower College where I was already teaching part-time but had never had the confidence to take the leap to go full time.  The position came up and after gaining the knowledge that I needed during my studies I had the confidence to apply.  It’s been fantastic.  I started last September and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

“I never thought that I’d complete a degree,” adds Karen.  It was always an ultimate goal but having two children, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to do it – but I managed to juggle it all.  I would tell anyone who’s interested in going back to education to do it.  I did the flexi-route degree which fitted perfectly around my family.  It’s opened so many different doors for me – I loved it.”

Following a condensed fast-track programme, Karen gained a full BA (Hons) degree in only two years. Karen was also one of the first students to graduate with the new Early Years Practitioner Status award which is recognised on the list of qualifications to work in the Early Years sector by Social Care Wales.

This particular degree was designed to allow parents with young children and families the opportunity to study.  Lectures usually take place one evening a week and on some Saturdays allowing students to maintain their work commitments.  Delivered in a supportive, engaging environment, the course explores all aspects of children’s well-being and holistic development. Students are supported to become confident graduates with the professional competence to develop as effective practitioners.

Glenda Tinney, a lecturer in Early Years at UWTSD was the person who nominated Karen for this award and is extremely proud of her achievements and of the dedication and commitment she showed during her studies.

“Karen joined us to the two-year flexi course and at the time, she was working as a childminder,” says Glenda.  “From the first time I met Karen, I knew she was going to be a really special student and she became a wonderful part of the cohort.  The students on the flexi course come to us in the evening after work and she was always dedicated, always hard-working – always enjoying the conversation and discussion and always with humour.  She has a great deal of knowledge about Early Years and about the subject so she was an obvious choice to be put forward for the British Education Awards.”

For more information on the Early Years courses offered at UWTSD – at both its Carmarthen and Swansea campuses - please contact g.tinney@uwtsd.ac.uk or 01267 676605

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk