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Glynllifon student takes first prize at prestigious ceremony in Llandrindod

A Land-based Engineering student from Coleg Glynllifon has scooped a top award for agriculture.

Gwenno Rowlands from the Denbigh area, who is studying for her level 3 qualification in engineering at Coleg Glynllifon, won Lantra Cymru's main award in the category: Young College Learner, under 20 years of age.

At a grand ceremony in Llandrindod, she mingled in the company of some of the biggest names within the world of agriculture in Wales.

Gwenno was brought up on the family farm in Nantglyn, Denbighshire. Determined to prove that gender is no barrier when it comes to servicing tractors and heavy machinery, Gwenno managed to combine her foundation course in Agriculture at Coleg Glynllifon with work experience at a local machinery company.

Following her work experience she was offered a part-time job, which gave her the opportunity to combine academic studies with gaining practical experience. She had great support from her tutors and Gwenno was the only female to complete the course over a period of seven years!

She is now hoping to find an apprenticeship that will: teach her more about welding and fabrication, provide additional qualifications that will add to the skills she gained at college (including the competence of tractors with trailer); provide skills on handling and maintaining quad bikes and telehandlers, as well as grinding and welding.

The judges were impressed by Gwenno's ambition and commitment to succeed in a sector where men have traditionally been so prevalent. She is still undecided about whether she wants to be an agricultural mechanic or a contractor, but one judge said Gwenno ‘has a bright future ahead of her and is a great example to any individuals who are interested in working with heavy machinery’.

Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government's Minister for Rural Affairs said: “The Lantra Cymru Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the commitment and passion of individuals across Wales. Well done to all those who were nominated, the winners and the training providers for all their hard work, including improving efficiency and introducing further innovative ideas to their methods of working."

The president of this year's judging panel was leading Welsh farmer Mr Peter Rees, chairman of Lantra Cymru. Other members of the panel included: Kevin Thomas, director of Lantra Cymru; Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, founder and managing partner of Agri Advisor lawyers, and Brian Rees, former chairman of the Welsh Farm Safety Partnership and Farming Connect farm safety mentor.

Rhodri Manod Owen, Coleg Glynllifon farm manager said: "Colleg Glynllifon has a long and very honourable record of winning some of Wales' leading awards, and we are extremely proud that Gwenno is continuing this tradition. Being nominated for a Lantra award is an honour in itself, not to mention winning the main award. Well done Gwenno, the college is extremely proud of your success."

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