Kiera overcomes the odds to achieve an apprenticeship to help patients

Posted on by karen.smith

English | Cymraeg

Pharmacy technician Kiera Dwyer has shown determination, dedication and commitment to achieve a series of qualifications to support the community pharmacy where she works in Abercynon.

Kiera Dwyer in work

Kiera Dwyer has overcome the obstacle to achieve an apprenticeship.

Kiera, 24, from Rhydyfelin, Pontypridd, who has Asperger’s and Irlen Syndrome, which is also known as visual stress, has taken on extra responsibility to allow pharmacists at Sheppards Pharmacy, part of the Avicenna group, more time to deal with front line patients. This has resulted in the pharmacy receiving a rating of up to 100% from patients.

She has completed a Pre-registration Pharmacy Technician Training Programme Apprenticeship which included a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science through awarding body Pearson and a City & Guilds Level 3 in Pharmacy Service Skills.

The apprenticeship was delivered by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) with support from ALS Training.

In recognition of her dedication to learning, Kiera has been shortlisted for the Apprentice of the Year Award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2022. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 10.

The awards highlight the outstanding achievements, during unprecedented times, of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor for the third year is Openreach.

To overcome the visual stress caused by reading text on white paper, Kiera invested in a purple Irlen Pukka pad and rewrote essential pieces of information that she needed to revise. This allowed her to stop work at reasonable time instead of staying up to 3am.

She began her apprenticeship shortly before the pandemic began and remained working on the NHS frontline at the pharmacy to ensure that patients received essential medication.

Besides coping with the pandemic, Kiera also had to deal with a series of traumatic family events, including the loss of her beloved grandfather. Despite these events, she didn’t miss a deadline for her qualifications.

“I wanted an apprenticeship to be able to apply knowledge that I learn, including how medical conditions can affect patients and how different drug classes in treatments work in different ways,” explained Kiera.

“I overcame a lot of obstacles to complete my apprenticeship as the odds were stacked against me from the start. Despite this, I managed to make it to the other side and not only completed my apprenticeship but also my BTEC and NVQ qualifications.”

Rhiannon Burke, manager at Sheppards Pharmacy, said: “Kiera has been a constant support in the pharmacy by taking the pressure off the pharmacists and supporting with their workload as a primary point of referral.

“She deserves to be recognised for her determination, dedication, commitment, and high level of skill in achieving her qualification.”

Congratulating Kiera and all the other shortlisted finalists, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic.

“They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.

“As part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government will be investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government.

“We want to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives. The investment will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.

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