Tydfil Training Gives Students the Key to Merthyr

Education provider Tydfil Training is using the We Love Merthyr Gift Card to give students access to a range of retail, leisure, hospitality, and services, as part of ongoing efforts to help students engage with their local area.

Students were presented with a We Love Merthyr Gift Card at a recent celebration event hosted by Tydfil Training to reward students for educational success. The local gift card can be spent in over 30 businesses in Merthyr, including small businesses and national brands.

Tydfil Training is part of a large group of educators, including The College Merthyr Tydfil and The University of South Wales, and concentrates on work-based learning programmes. Paul Gray is Chief Executive of Tydfil Training and Chair of Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre Partnership, and said rewarding students with a local gift card aligns with their strategy of working collaboratively with employers:

“We looked at various gift cards to reward students but felt that if we used the We Love Merthyr Gift Card, the impact would be two-fold. Firstly, in encouraging learners to engage with the high street and secondly, in supporting the locality where these young people live. These are the organisations that can ultimately provide paid employment for our students. It’s a small indicator of our commitment to Merthyr town centre and the South Wales Valleys, and it’s a message that resonates with our learners. They don’t have to go off to the city to find work. We can create a strong, successful economy right here in Merthyr.

“The local gift card concept appeals to our students. They are more aware of environmental issues and understand the benefits of shopping locally. As many businesses on the We Love Merthyr Gift Card scheme are small business owners, it also ties in with the principles of entrepreneurship that we actively promote, encouraging our students to engage with these local entrepreneurs.

“When we use the We Love Merthyr Gift Card as a reward, the investment we make in Merthyr stays in Merthyr. There tends to be lots of negativity about the demise of the high street, but if we don’t support our businesses, then we get what we deserve.”

Elizabeth Bedford is the BID Co-ordinator for The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil and said: “In comparison to Cardiff, Swansea and other cities, Merthyr is a small town, but our residents are very passionate about supporting local businesses. With one We Love Merthyr Gift Card, you can get your fruit and vegetables, stock up with household necessities at Wilko, go for a coffee or a meal, do some shopping at the independent boutiques, or visit the nationals like New Look and Boots. It’s an ideal reward or gift for students, and we are thankful that Tydfil Training chose to reward students with a gift card that supports our community.”

Merthyr’s gift card is one of the 100 plus Town and City Gift Cards schemes around the UK and Ireland, local gift cards from payments provider Miconex, that can be spent in multiple businesses within a particular area.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said: “It is fantastic to see an education provider like Tydfil Training using the We Love Merthyr Gift Card to support local businesses and contribute to building a strong, local economy, for the benefit of the whole community, including its learners. One of the benefits of the We Love Merthyr Gift Card is that the money has to be spent locally, protecting local businesses and local jobs.

“There are also opportunities for higher education providers to use their local gift card to disburse funds to students, as hardship payments for students, or even for contingency planning, such as students being unable to access on-site facilities for a time. As Town and City Gift Cards work through the Mastercard network, they’re secure and offer outstanding choice for students, allowing them to access everything from accommodation and food to clothes and other essentials.”