Our News

14 January 2013

Former Wales International Matt Jones talks to students about achieving their goals

Former Welsh International and Leeds United football player Matt Jones recently visited Cardiff and Vale College to give an inspirational talk to students about his life and experiences.

Organised by the Colin Jackson’s Red Shoes Academy, sporting ambassador Matt Jones gave a series of motivational talks to more than 80 Public Services and Catering and Sport Students at CAVC’s Colcot Road site in Barry. Taking the core message ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, Matt talked about how he overcame obstacles to become a footballer and the trials and tribulations of the game. He also discussed how he coped with the injury that forced his early retirement and his decision to start anew as a journalist and pundit.

Matt then fielded questions about the two goals he scored during his league career – one being an own goal. He talked about discipline and the number of times he had been sent off in his talk that blended humour and pathos. He also gave a heartfelt tribute to his friend and mentor, Wales footballer and manager Gary Speed.

The students found Matt’s visit moving and inspirational. Pathways to Apprenticeships Sport student Kieran Thomas, 17 from Barry, said: “I enjoyed the talk – I learned a lot about Matt Jones and he taught us some good lessons about life.”

Bradley Cole, a 19-year-old BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science student from Barry, added: “The talk with Matt Jones was inspiring, taking in his story about coming from nothing to working hard to achieve his goals.”

Public Services student Ben Furlong, 18 and from St Athan, said: “I found the talk really inspirational. I enjoyed it.”

CAVC Social Engagement and Community Collaboration Manager Wayne Carter facilitated the visit. He said: “I am sure that the young people were truly impressed by Matthew’s inspirational journey and that they will take something from the workshops that will inspire them to be the best, in whatever direction they take in life.

“We are delighted that the Red Shoes Academy gave our learners the opportunity to benefit from this and we are looking to work with them on future collaborations.”

Red Shoes Academy Director Rich Owen said: "The Red Shoes Academy ambassador format is designed to share experiences between students and our Ambassadors in order to support the learning journey. The visit to Cardiff and the Vale College underlined how this can be achieved successfully as the Red Shoes Ambassador Matthew Jones, formerly of Leeds United and Wales, worked with both the College's Sport, Catering and Public Services students.

“The messages he delivered, and the feedback he received, showed that the life skills he used to follow his dream are applicable and relevant to whatever vocation the students were studying, The Academy is about how to put yourself in a position where success becomes a more achievable outcome."