Apprentice Megan competes for top award after making her mark in agriculture
Megan Wilkins described herself as a shy girl before beginning work on Cwmnofydd Farm at Machen near Caerphilly. Now she is in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
Megan, 19, who lives in Newport, is one of four finalists shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
A combination of working with animals and undertaking an Apprenticeship brought Megan out of her shell and she is now developing a career and plans to complete a degree in agriculture.
Megan saw the sector as male dominated and thought she would struggle to get people to take her seriously in the industry. But after searching for a job and convincing the owners of the family farm to take her on, she hasn’t looked back.
Bridgend College has provided Megan and her employer, Owen Tamplin, with ongoing training and advice throughout her Apprenticeship in Agriculture.
“I had to overcome many barriers due to my quiet nature and as a girl entering into typically a man’s role. I have certainly come out of my shell and love caring for the animals on the farm,” said Megan.
“Being able to undertake an Apprenticeship was important for me. It provided an avenue to training and employment that I might not otherwise been able to do through just a course or training in their own right.
“With the ongoing experience of work and being paid for it, together with the training I’m undertaking, I’m learning so much hands on. It’s brought me out of my shell even more and I’m now very confident in working on and running aspects of a farm.”
Prior to achieving her Apprenticeship, Megan completed her Foundation Apprenticeship in Agriculture through Pathways to Apprenticeship in a year.
“I am now coming to the end of my first year on HND and after this I want to complete my full degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University,” she added.
Farm owner and employer, Mr Tamplin, said: “Megan is becoming an experienced herdswoman and often has the responsibility of feeding, milking, cleaning and bedding an 80 strong dairy herd.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Megan and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”