This week marks the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week. People and organisations have been sharing their experiences and promoting the benefits apprenticeships bring to the workplace. Here are some examples of the successes Welsh Colleges have seen.
NTPC Group - Amber, 22 from Llanelli began her career in the healthcare sector on the level 3 apprenticeship in Pathology Support with ABMU at Singleton Hospital, Swansea and Pathways Training after deciding there was more to life than working in a local DIY store.
A typical day for Amber can see her prepare samples and work alongside biomedical scientists to label specimens on the dissection bench. It was this hand on working approach and a newly found enthusiasm for the sector that made juggling other demanding commitments outside of work worth it to ensure she was continue doing what she enjoyed so much, which at times was demanding.
Amber was one of the first learners in Wales to complete the Pathology Support qualification and is now classed as a healthcare scientist in her own right, securing a permanent position within the ABMU and recent promotion on top. She is an advocate the use of apprenticeships within ABMU health board and is also mentor to the new apprentices within the pathology department.
Cardiff and vale College Electrical Installation student Elliott Dix has been crowned as the best electrical apprentice in Wales.
Seventeen-year-old Elliott, who is from Barry, won the Welsh heats of the UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition.
Elliott won a selection of tools and will go on to take part in the UK finals of Electrical Apprentice of the Year in March. He said he was grateful to his employer and to Cardiff and Vale College for the support they have given him during the contest so far.
“I work for Woodlands Electrical and they’ve been very supportive, giving me time off to train and letting me come into college if I need it,” Elliott said.
Coleg Cambria - Annie Roberts, Level 3 Marketing Apprenticeship, Darwin Escapes.
“I saw an apprenticeship as a great opportunity to not only gain another qualification to put onto my CV, but also the perfect chance to learn vital job-specific skills in a hands-on environment with a friendly & creative team who could provide me with a range of experience knowledge. I am continually learning new skills along the way through the hands-on learning and the college work provided.
It’s a great opportunity for those who aren’t quite sure if they want to give up studying but still want to gain that hands on experience that you get with working full time. You’ll get vital work experience and working daily in an environment related to your apprenticeship will help you gain work skills that can’t be gained in a classroom.
I’m really enjoying my time as an apprentice and I can’t believe how quickly the process has gone as I’m not far from finishing. I feel completely independent in my learning but also feel like I have that guidance and support in the form of my assessor if needed.”
Gower College Swansea student Sally Hughes was named Apprentice of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
19-year-old Sally, from Port Talbot, is building a career at Tata Steel and hopes to inspire other young women to follow a science career pathway.
Having had a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school, Sally achieved an Apprenticeship in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (Industrial Science) alongside a BTEC National Diploma in Applied Science at Gower College Swansea.
The next academic step for Sally is a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) with a HNC in Applied Chemistry followed by a degree programme at Swansea University.
Photo of Sally Hughes: Golley Slater