NTfW Newsletter – March 2015

Posted on by karen.smith

Search launched to find this year’s apprenticeship stars in Wales

A search is underway to find the star learners, employers and training providers involved in the delivery of the successful learning programmes across Wales.

Applications for this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are now being invited by joint organisers the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

Entry forms are available from the NTfW website https://www.ntfw.org/apprenticeships-awards/ – and must be completed by noon on June 26. The coveted awards will be presented at a high profile ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 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.

Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales by learners, employers and learning providers, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.

They recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with European Social Fund support.

There are 12 categories this year, including two new awards for learning providers. A provider award for partnership working has been introduced together with a work-based learning practitioner of the year award.

In the traineeship category, there are awards for learner of the year (engagement) and learner of the year (level one). The Jobs Growth Wales programme will have an award for outstanding achiever of the year.

The apprenticeships category includes awards for foundation apprentice of the year, apprentice of the year and higher apprentice of the year.

There will also be four awards employers engaged with apprenticeships: small (1-49 employees), medium (50-249), large (250-4,999) and macro (5,000 plus).

Launching the awards, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James appealed to learners, employers and training providers to apply to showcase their achievements.

“We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe, particularly in providing opportunity for younger entrants,” she said. “Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy.

“The Welsh Government is committed to training schemes such as apprenticeships but they are a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.

“We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are a chance for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.

“We offer a wide range of skills training across Wales and the awards are an opportunity to celebrate the success of this work.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund

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Eleven teams of young people from Wales selected as National Finalists of UK-wide money management competition

Teams reach National Final of the Money for Life Challenge, a money management competition run by Lloyds Banking Group, with CollegesWales and Youth Cymru.

Eleven teams of young people from Wales are celebrating today after reaching the Wales National Final of Lloyds Banking Group’s Money for Life Challenge, a national competition to inspire better money management skills in local communities across the UK supported by CollegesWales and Youth Cymru.

The teams have been selected from 80 entries from across Wales to reach the final of the Money for Life Challenge at the Doctor Who Experience at Porth Teigr, Cardiff on 28 April 2015.

Five of the teams will present their money management projects to a panel of high-profile judges, hoping to be crowned the Money for Life Challenge: Wales Winner 2015.
The five teams are:


D.O.S.H – (Defining Our Spending Habits)

Acorn Learning Solutions
Team addressed issues experienced by students going on to attend university, and supplied knowledge to offer new students moving from further to higher education information to build the foundation to make informed decisions on their spending habits.

Be In Th’ Know With Ya Dough

Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone
Project addressed the need for young people in Blaenau Gwent to save money. Team highlighted saving money is particularly important where young people have to live on a very low income. They looked into this by teaching money saving tips to help their peers and also persuaded several local businesses to offer discounts, special offers or freebies to local youngsters.

Radiate – Families Project

Charter Housing, Newport
Team worked to design and build a mobile app themed around energy efficiency to help young families see how they can save money by adopting more energy efficient lifestyle habits. The team conducted four face to face sessions with an app developer to bring their ideas to life and worked with local families to measure its impact.


Bridgend College
C-Bank looked at how to help young people in Bridgend save money by encouraging them to shop in local charity shops. The team worked with the Tenovus Cancer Care charity in Bridgend to conduct a donation drive to inspire more young people to donate to charity shops and conducted promotions in the local area to encourage more teenagers and young adults to shop in them.

Gym Value for Money

Coleg Gwent, Crosskeys
Project looked into the cost of using gyms and sought to compare the price of college gyms to private and local authority alternatives. They produced leaflets and posters, which were handed out across the college campus and used email and intranet to promote information on the differences in cost. The team aimed to both promote ways to save money and the importance of keeping fit.

Alongside the five teams that will present their projects on stage, six further teams will be in the running for the People’s Prize, which is voted for by attendees at the National Final. They are:

  • Beauty Therapy Community from Coleg Gwent
  • Upcycling Splott from Global Love Trust
  • Sassy Savings from Youth Cymru
  • Saving before Leaving from NPTC Group
  • Young Carers from YMCA
  • Young Pension Payers from ISA Training

The groups undertook their projects over a three month period having been awarded a £500 grant from Money for Life to put their ideas into action.
The winner of the Wales national final will win £1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.

Rachel Dodge, Project Manager for Money for Life in Wales, said: “Money management skills are vital to our everyday lives and we are delighted that so many teams from Wales have taken part in the Money for Life Challenge this year. We are pleased to announce the eleven national finalists who will be at this year’s Wales National Final. Each team has devised a truly innovative project to help their community. I wish them the very best of luck.”

David Rowsell, Head of the Money for Life Programme at Lloyds Banking Group said: “The Money for Life Challenge helps young people create a money management project to benefit their local community and enables them to develop the skills they need to manage their own money more effectively too. Money for Life is one of the core programmes at the heart of Lloyds Banking Group’s aim to help Britain prosper.

“I have been hugely impressed by the innovation and enthusiasm of all the teams who have taken part in the Challenge this year. It has been a tricky decision for our judges to decide which groups will make it to our national finals. I wish all teams the very best of luck.”

The winner of the Wales final will head to the Money for Life Challenge UK Grand Final at the London Film Museum in London’s Covent Garden on 28 May, where they’ll compete against teams from England, Northern Ireland and Scotland to claim the title of UK Winners of the Money for Life Challenge 2015. The teams have the chance to win £3,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.

For more information on the Money for Life Challenge, please go to www.moneyforlifechallenge.org.uk, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/moneyforlifeuk and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/moneyforlifeuk

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Cyfle Level 3 Apprenticeship gets Ticked!

Cyfle is thrilled to be able to announce that Cyfle’s Level 3 Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick.

Cyfle is the first provider in Wales to be awarded the Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry.

Sue Jeffries, Cyfle Chief Executive said “Having the Tick recognition for the Cyfle Level 3 Apprenticeship means that the apprentices are assured of industry standard training, and the highest quality support from us as the training provider as well as from the employer.

Over the past few years, more and more employers in the creative industries have been recognising the value of apprenticeships for workforce development, with the apprenticeship now being one of the main pathways for new entrants into the creative industries. The Tick ‘stamp of approval’ will assist us in recruiting some of the brightest and best young people to the apprenticeship programme, as well as the best employers.”

Since taking over delivery of the Level 3 Apprenticeship in 2013, Cyfle has worked with a wide range of creative industries employers from all over Wales such as Telesgop, Rondo Media, BBC Cymru Wales, Regan Management, Green Bay, Made & Co, Real SFX, Photodrome, Script to Screen, Horse & Country TV and Made in Tredegar.
Two of these employers, BBC Cymru Wales and Real SFX went on to win in their respective categories (macro employer and small employer of the year) in the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014.

In 2015 is looking forward to adding at least a few more companies to the list, offering fantastic workplace learning opportunities to young people interested in working in the creative industries in Wales.

The apprentice opportunities offered over the past 2 years have included roles in – camera, costume, post production, art department, community film, special effects, casting assistant, production secretary/runner, junior researcher, grip, sound, sports radio, photographer, digital and boom.

Simon Guy from Deiniolen near Caernarfon, Gwynedd applied for a Camera Apprenticeship with BBC Cymru Wales after a few years working in a variety of jobs gaining experience in the creative industries in and around north Wales. He was succcessful and made such an impression during his 12 month apprenticeship, he is now employed as a Camera Trainee on Pobol y Cwm, which is based at the state of the art BBC Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff Bay.

Speaking about his job Simon said “You’re thrown in at the deep end, so it’s essential that you have patience and are willing to be a team player. It can often be a tense environment with deadlines that have to be met, but if you’re willing to work hard, listen and are open to suggestions it’s a fantastic department to be part of.”

2015 Level 3 Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media vacancies will be announced at the beginning of April, with applications being accepted until mid May (date tba). The cohort will begin on the 22nd of June 2015. All vacancies will be announced on the dedicated website www.mediaapprentice.info

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2015 VQ Day nominations open!

Taking place on 10th June, the eighth annual VQ Day will celebrate vocational achievement and promote parity of esteem for vocational qualifications alongside academic paths.

If you know of individuals who have used their vocational qualifications to achieve beyond their peers within the last seven years, or a local employer that has championed vocational learning in the workplace, we encourage you to put them forward for the VQ Learner of the Year Award, or the VQ Employer of the Year Award.

How to nominate

The deadline for all nominations is 1st May 2015. Nomination forms for both awards can be found by following this link http://www.vqday.org.uk/vq-awards

The finalists for both categories will be announced in early May with the winners being announced at the VQ Awards Ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 9th June at the St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff Bay.

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ESDGC – Global Citizenship

The events listed below are celebrations and awareness days; each of the events includes details of websites and support materials to help plan activities for learners.

5 April 2015 Easter Sunday – Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. On Easter Sunday, Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his rising to new life on the third day after his crucifixion.

7 April 2015 World Health Day – Resources to support this day which marks the founding of the World Health Organisation and draws worldwide attention to a different global health issue each year.

Follow the link below to more resources to support learning related to celebrations, awareness days and action weeks throughout the year. http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/resources/r/resourcecalendar/april.asp

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Skills Competition Wales and Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project

Skills Competitions Wales offers students, trainees and apprentices in Wales a chance to challenge benchmark and raise their skills by taking part in local competitions across a range of sectors.

Funded by the Welsh Government, the 2014/15 cycle has secured 34 competitions across five sectors – Built Environment, Engineering, Social and Professional Services, Creative and Cultural Arts and IT and Business Administration – and are run by a dedicated network of colleges, work-based learning providers and employer-led organisations.

To date the 2014-15 cycle has been a great success and has seen more than 630 learners enter competitions and compete across Wales, with many entrants from newly engaged training providers.

Results from the competitions will be posted on the Skills Competitions Wales website when available www.worldskillswales.org

Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales secured by the Skills Champions Network and led by Coleg Sir Gâr, is a £1.1 million project funded through the Welsh Government. The project, focused on Skills Competitions, offers a supportive infrastructure for Welsh competitors competing at a National and International level. The delivery of the project, strives to improve competitor success through working collaboratively with competitors, training providers and employers across Wales. We’ve an ambition to establish an ethos across training providers to deliver more than simply qualifications and deliver skills that are of a world-class standard, with experiences that build confidence and personal skills in individuals.

Supporting the development teaching and learning in Wales, the ISEiW project to date has delivered many skill specific masterclasses across Wales, to mention a few:

  • Improving Performance in Vocational Skills Competitions and Expert Practitioner Development
  • Built Environment Sector: Carpentry, Joinery, Plastering and Dry-lining, Plumbing and Electrical
  • Social and Professional Services: Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Professional Cookery, Patisserie and Restaurant Service
  • IT and Business: IT Networking, IT Network Security and IT Software Solutions for Business

Additional successes to date include an increase in engagement levels across the board with a greater breadth of competition involvement. We are currently awaiting confirmation of WorldSkills UK entries for Wales.

For more information on Skills Competition Wales and the work that the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales Team are doing please go to http://worldskillswales.org/en/pages/ISEiW/

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News from the Regions

Educ8 Learner Strikes it Silver!

Educ8 is so proud to announce that one of our Apprenticeship learners, Neisha Ponting from Age Connect Morgannwg in RCT, has been awarded with the Silver Award for the Wales Skills Competition for Health & Social Care.

The competition took place yesterday, Wednesday 11th March, at Bridgend College and comprised of 13 shortlisted finalists who were judged on their ability to complete a carefully designed activity which tested their skills in a range of critical elements that are essential to working in the sector.

The activity involved participating in a simulated scenario whereby an elderly dementia sufferer required help and support to cope with every-day life. This activity was followed by a multiple choice test and the scores were amalgamated to determine those who should win the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Neisha scored exceptionally well in both elements of the competition and during the feedback session that followed, the judge commented that: “Neisha’s experience of working with vulnerable people shone through in her performance and she provided us with complete reassurance that she had the skills required to care for someone like ‘Mrs Jones’ exceptionally well. Put it this way, I would feel confident knowing that my elderly mother was being cared for by Neisha.”

Neisha, who has worked for Age Connect Morgannwg for 1.5 years, is currently studying towards her Level 2 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care and is soon due to achieve. Neisha has excelled in all elements of her training and has already planned to enrol onto her Level 3 qualification as soon as she completes. Her enthusiasm and passion for what she does is what encouraged Neisha’s Apprenticeship Assessor at Educ8 to put her forward for the competition. Neisha demonstrates tremendous skills, a caring attitude and empathy in her job role and Educ8 felt that entering the competition would allow her to harness her talent and abilities and aim for even greater success and recognition.

Upon winning the award, Neisha commented: “It’s a great privilege to receive this award. I had never worked in the Care industry before I joined Age Connect Morgannwg but I have learnt so much from the company and everyone that I work with. Even though I have won I feel it just represents how we work as a team at the company- everyone is so passionate about what we do and the clients we work with, it’s a fantastic job!”

Karina Hicks, Head of Sales and Marketing at Educ8 Ltd commented, “We are over the moon for Neisha; she definitely deserves to be rewarded for her amazing caring attitude and commitment to learning and development. This is the first year that Educ8 has engaged in the Skills Competitions but clearly they are a great way for us to encourage our more talented and able learners to aim for the stars and be recognised for excellence in the sectors in which they work; we hope to enter even more learners next year.”

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School teacher reaps the benefits of studying for a higher apprenticeship

First language Welsh speaker, Eirlys Thomas has been teaching Welsh at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin for five years, but after being promoted to Head of Year, she was offered the chance to undertake a higher apprenticeship in Middle Management to help her upskill for the role.

Eirlys said, “Despite being a teacher for 16 years, when I was promoted to Head of Year, I suddenly found myself faced with a series of new challenges that tested my existing capabilities and experience.

“I didn’t even know that apprenticeships were available for school teachers, so when our training manager, Euryn Madoc-Jones suggested that I undertook a Level 5 apprenticeship in Middle Management with Cambrian Training, I jumped at the opportunity to upskill.”

Eirlys is among the first cohort of apprentices to join the ILM Leadership and Management Course, a flagship course being delivered for the first time in an educational setting in the medium of Welsh language.

Eirlys continued “The course is teaching me a huge variety of new skills in data analysis, leadership and management that are not only helping to grow my confidence, but also providing me with the experience and qualifications I need to progress my own career.”

Although juggling studying for her apprenticeship with her full-time day job and taking care of her three children is sometimes a challenge, Eirlys is confident the apprenticeship will provide her with the qualifications and skills she needs to progress her career further.

Eirlys said, “I’m really enjoying undertaking the apprenticeship and although it’s difficult fitting everything in at times, I’m already finding that I’m applying a lot of the skills and practises I’m learning on a daily basis. It has been even better that I have been able to undertake the apprenticeship in Welsh.”

Latest figures from the Welsh Government reveal that Higher Apprenticeships have witnessed a dramatic surge in popularity, with the latest figures showing that 3,320 Higher Apprenticeship starts were created in 2013/14 compared with 2,275 in 2012/2013 and just 280 in 2011/12.

Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said: “In Wales, the number of people taking up an apprenticeship is on the rise and I’m encouraged to see so many young people realise the benefits of studying for this nationally recognised qualification. I’m also really pleased to see employers and training providers offering a range of apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh and bilingually.

“Apprenticeships are a practical way to earn a wage and gain valuable skills that are transferable across the world of work. Available across a range of sectors, apprenticeships are designed with the help of employers so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you really need to do that job.

“Apprenticeship Week highlights the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. There is support from the Welsh Government available for businesses considering taking on an apprentice, including help with training and assessment costs.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

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Former Apprentice Stars at New York Fashion Week

A north Wales mum, who dropped out of her A-Levels, has spoken about how completing an Apprenticeship helped her to rise through the ranks to perform a starring role behind the scenes at one of the fashion industry’s top global spectacles, New York Fashion Week.

36-year old Jane Bellis from Deeside in Flintshire, looks back at her ‘transformational’ decision to take on a Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management that helped her on a journey from stressed-out salon owner to in-demand fashion stylist.

Her decision to leave school and train as a makeup artist had a positive start when she landed some work experience at a film production company in Manchester, but when she became pregnant with her first child at age 20, her career took a different course. Jane found that she was comfortable in the work-based learning environment and completed her level 2 and 3 NVQ in Beauty Therapy, while working as a mobile beautician and branching out into wedding makeup.

Training courses in holistic therapy, advanced electrical treatments, tanning and aromatherapy helped to further her skills, together with a Level 2 NVQ in Hairdressing. Then, in 2004, she opened a full ‘one stop shop’ beauty salon in north Wales. As the owner of Bellissimo in Ewloe, Jane was now an employer and a manager, with a whole different challenge and no previous experience in leadership and management.

During 10 years of being a salon owner and employer, at one point employing up to 14 staff, Jane has experienced the highs and lows of business and admits that she has learned some harsh lessons. She was forced to close her second salon, losing up to £60,000 and having to deal with some difficult issues with very little support.
However, the experience also re-ignited her passion for learning and when a call came in from t2 group, asking whether anyone in the business would be interested in studying for a Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management, Jane volunteered herself.

“Although at first it seemed that undertaking an Apprenticeship with four children and the business would be impossible, I realised that things needed to change in order for my business to grow,” recalled Ms Bellis.

“Through the workshops and assignments that formed part of the Apprenticeship, I was forced to take a long hard look at my business, re-address my values and critically assess my beliefs and behaviour in relation to what was going on in my company. There is no doubt that the skills I was gaining helped me to make informed decisions on my path and grow rapidly. I look back now and wonder how on earth I managed to run a business without these fundamental skills.”

The first salon she opened in 2004 has since doubled its turnover and provided valuable experience to a string of students that have completed their own Apprenticeships with Ms Bellis – something that she is very proud of. The success of the salon has also enabled Ms Bellis to focus on building Bellissimo as a brand, founding a national beauty academy and launching her own range of cosmetics and skincare products, as well as a clothing range.

In 2012, she was approached to work on Liverpool Fashion Week, being invited back in 2013 as head of the hair department and again in 2014 as creative director for the entire show. She has also worked as beauty editor for Lifestyle magazine and, as a freelance artist, landed jobs on the Formula 1 Grand Prix, as a special effects artist at the London launch of a new computer game and a role at London Fashion Week. Ms Bellis was also crowned Stylist of the Year at the 2014 UK Fashion & Beauty Awards and Wedding Industry Expert’s Best Hair & Makeup Service in the UK.

Two weeks ago, Jane was asked to fly over to New York and work as creative director on closing night at New York Fashion Week. Together with her assistant, she was responsible for designing looks for 28 designers and managed a team of 60 makeup artists and stylists who worked an 18-hour shift to support shows every 15 minutes throughout the closing day.

“The Apprenticeship, and the support of my t2 group coach, Julie Boast, not only also helped me to develop skills and drive my business forward but also to balance the other areas of my life,” Ms Bellis added. “By addressing my core values, I realised that the philanthropic element that I had kept separate from my business ventures can in fact go hand in hand.”

Through Bellissimo, Ms Bellis now gets actively involved with charity campaigns like Warrior Women (helping ladies with cancer to ‘look good and feel better’) and ‘Girls out loud’ (sharing her story as a female entrepreneur through mentoring, speaking in schools and delivering workshops for teenage girls). She also launched her own ‘Perfectly Flawed’ campaign, to promote positive body image and raise self-esteem in women across the UK.

“Jane was and is a very receptive learner, but still had the reservations most people do on returning to education after a period of time away from it,” explained her t2 group coach Julie Boast. “From the very beginning, she applied all of the training and knowledge she received from the workshops and maximised the coaching opportunities available from the course.

“This allowed her to reduce her working hours significantly enough to develop her leadership capabilities and expand the business but at the same time developed and empowered her staff. She has been an absolute joy as a learner and I had no doubt her name would soon be in lights.”

Ms Bellis added: “By juggling my time, working really hard, and prioritising, I not only completed my Apprenticeship but managed to increase my salon turnover, reduce costs and free up almost 75% of my time that was previously spent on silly and unproductive things.

“I have also managed to refine my business plan and strategies to allow me to achieve rapid growth and create almost unlimited opportunities for the future.”

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Partnership launched to provide Welsh Language apprenticeships for future sports leaders

ACT and Urdd partnership launch
Rugby legend Jonathan Davies and the Deputy Skills and Technology Minister, Julie James launched new partnership between Wales’ leading training provider ACT and Urdd Gobaith Cymru at the Cardiff City Sleepover on Tuesday, 3 March.

10 young people between 17 – 24 years old started an apprenticeship with the Urdd six months ago, which is offered in partnership with ACT Training. Five are placed in the Urdd outdoor educational centre, Gwersyll Glan-llyn, with the other five working for the Sport Department in various areas across Wales including Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff.

During their 12 months placements, they will gain an NVQ level 2 in Activity Leadership, National Governing Bodies Qualifications as well as valuable work experience that will aid their career in the future.

Giving an opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience in the workplace and nurturing future sport leaders for the industry – that is what Urdd Sport Director Gary Lewis hopes to achieve with the Urdd Gobaith Cymru apprenticeship scheme .

Urdd Gobaith Cymru promotes the use of the Welsh language and provides a range of opportunities through clubs, schools and community groups.

Erddyn Williams, a 19 year old from Dyffyrn Ardudwy, is an apprentice based in the Bangor Urdd office. He said “I finished in Coleg Meirion Dwyfor last year, and to be honest I wasn’t happy with my grades. I hadn’t done any ex-curricular activities while I was in college, so this was an excellent opportunity for me to gain the necessary experience to win a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

“And the first six months have been great – in the first week I got my First Aid qualification and Athletics Leader Award. Since then I’ve gained numerous qualifications and have had valuable experiences – such as holding meetings with outside organisations, making presentations and altering session plans for different age groups. Since I’ve started with the Urdd in September, I have coached over 700 children in various sport clubs such as rugby in Barmouth and table tennis in Menai Bridge. This has been a great opportunity for me, and I am so glad that I took a year out.”

With around 80 new clubs established by the Sport Department every year, the apprentices have played an important role enabling this to happen. Gary Lewis, Urdd Director of Sport said, “What we need is grassroot manpower. We can give these young people proper industry training so that they can take the lead when establishing new community clubs -which of course means that more of our members can enjoy after school activities through the medium of Welsh.

“The apprentices are great – they are so enthusiastic and make such a difference to what we can offer locally, regionally and nationally. We hope that the clubs that they’ve established this year will then be run by local volunteers who have also been trained during the year. We are very happy to be working with ACT on this scheme which is of great benefit to the Urdd and the young people.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “The sports and leisure industry plays an important role in keeping the people of Wales active and healthy. I’m very pleased to see young people being offered apprenticeship schemes to build successful careers in this sector. That these programmes are offered in Welsh can only add to the career prospects of participants.

“Being able to speak and write in both Welsh and English can give someone an important advantage whether they are looking for a job or wanting to further their career.
“Businesses who offer bilingual services to the public receive a higher level of customer appreciation.”

Caroline Cooksley, ACT Development Director added, “It’s clear that the Apprentices are making a significant impact in their communities already and ACT is proud to be working in partnership with the Urdd to offer our young people the chance to become skilled, qualified and employable individuals whilst supporting the Welsh language.”

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Tailor-Made Apprenticeship for Spa Workers

ISA apprentice Steph Symonds has made history by becoming the first learner to complete an apprenticeship specifically tailor-made for spa workers.

The 17-year-old from Rhoose, near Cardiff completed the 5 Star Beauty Apprenticeship Programme at the Vale Resorts Spa, Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan, two months ahead of schedule and has been offered a full-time post as a qualified therapist.

ISA designed the apprenticeship with the Vale Spa Resort to respond to the specific training and business needs of prestige hotel spas in Wales.

Within the first 12 weeks, apprentices focus on body massage treatments and spa customer service to ensure that they are able to generate income for the business from an early stage.

Steph left school at 16 with 11 GCSEs to her name and jumped at the chance to start work as an apprentice at the Vale Resorts Spa, the biggest spa in Wales with 19 treatment rooms. She has impressed with her professionalism at such a young age in an adult environment.

She completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Beauty Therapy General, comprising tinting, make-up, waxing, facials, manicures, pedicures and massage, before progressing immediately to an Apprenticeship in Beauty Therapy Massage, comprising Indian head massage, hot stone massage and spray tanning.

“It feels very good to have become the first learner to complete this pioneering apprenticeship and I would definitely recommend it to anyone seeking a career in the spa beauty industry,” said Steph.

“An apprenticeship is much better than going to college because it provides a way into the industry and you earn while you learn in the workplace. I chose this career because the beauty industry is massive and there will always be opportunities as people like to have treatments.”

Her mentor, Debbie Searle, Vale Resorts Spa operations manager, said: “Steph is now a professional therapist with her own customers and has the potential to become a future manager. She could not have been trained in a better environment.

“The 5 Star Beauty Apprenticeship has worked tremendously well, as it has been tailor-made to the needs of the business and we hope to take on another two apprentices in 2015.”

Clare Jeffries, ISA Training’s head of apprenticeships, said: “The pilot programme has been very successful. Previously the spa was taking on college leavers and having to retrain them their way.

“The apprenticeship is designed in such a way that the apprentices are able to start working as therapists within three months and are fully competent by the end of the programme.

“Steph has been totally dedicated to her training and development and the standard of her work is fantastic. She had excellent support from her parents in the initial stages of the apprenticeship which is really important.”

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Award ceremony winners for CITB and QSA

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Quality Skills Alliance (QSA) recently held their respective annual awards ceremonies please follow the links below to read more about Hannah Browne, who is in her first year of the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management degree at the CITB Awards and electrical engineer, Luke Elsmore at the QSA Awards.

Construction student wins Apprentice of the Year award

A Construction student at the University of South Wales has been named Welsh Apprentice of the Year , thanks to her willingness to help others at work and during lectures.

Hannah Browne, who is in her first year of the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management degree, won the national title at the annual Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) apprenticeship awards.

The 18-year-old, from Pontypool, works at the Cardiff office EC Harris, a natural and built asset design and consultancy firm, as a trainee quantity surveyor, and was nominated by Apprenticeship Officer Stephen Bullock from CITB Wales.

Hannah said: “Stephen carries out regular reviews on the apprentices to see how we’re getting on in work, make sure we’re getting the right experience and to see where we are with our studies.

“He mentioned that he had nominated me for the award and I couldn’t believe it – it was such a lovely surprise.”
Then Hannah discovered she has been shortlisted for the award, and received a ‘golden ticket’ to the award ceremony in London, which she attended with her parents.

“Going to the ceremony was a fantastic experience. We even got to meet Colin Jackson there, who was really nice and made me feel a bit less nervous.

“When they announced the winners, the last thing I expected was to hear my name. I was so shocked; I really wasn’t expecting to win.”

Hannah has wanted to be a quantity surveyor since the age of 15, having always been interested in construction and enjoys maths and science.

After successfully applying for an apprenticeship with EC Harris, Hannah was able to continue her studies at Ystrad Mynach College, and now studies at the University of South Wales one day a week while working for the company.

“I was one of the first girls in a long time to study Construction at GCSE while I was at West Monmouth Comprehensive School. But once I did, other girls also took the subject and it has been growing ever since.

“I firmly believe that men and women are no different when it comes to securing jobs. If you have the ability, you should be able to achieve your dream career.”

CITB Strategic Partnership Director Wales, Mark Bodger, said: “Hannah’s dedication and commitment throughout her apprenticeship has culminated in her winning the CITB Apprentice of the year award for Wales and she truly deserves it. Her passion for the industry is clear.

“Throughout her two year apprenticeship she was a high achiever and I am delighted to see that Hannah is still working with EC Harris who are now sponsoring her studies further.

“Hannah is a great ambassador for CITB apprenticeships and we are very proud of her achievements
“CITB are committed to helping young people gain the relevant training that will give them lifelong skills, I have no doubt Hannah will go far in this industry.

“Hannah’s story is also a great example of how women can go far in the construction industry and develop their careers. I hope Hannah’s story will help to encourage more women into the industry, which provides so many opportunities for all.”

Electrical Engineer Luke top of the pile at annual awards ceremony

Luke Elsmore CAVC
Top Gwent electrical engineer, Luke Elsmore from Blackwood, was at the top of the pile of 13 of the finest apprentices working in Wales to have had their hard work and dedication celebrated at the Quality Skills Alliance Annual Awards at the National Museum, Cardiff on Wednesday 11th March 2015.

High flying Luke, aged 20, was first named Engineering Apprentice of the Year on the night and then went on to be given the prestigious title of Overall Apprentice of the Year, chosen from all of the winning apprentices.

The fourth-year apprentice is employed by global electrical integration specialists Industrial Automation and Control Ltd, which is based at Queensway Meadows, Newport, and was delighted with the recognition:
“I’m really pleased to win this award. I was not expecting it at all. I try to put a lot of effort into my role so it’s lovely to be recognised for that. I would like to thank everyone at IAC for the opportunities they have given me.

The awards, organised by the Quality Skills Alliance – a consortium of work-based learning providers made up of 24 partners and subcontractors – celebrate excellence and achievement, and the winners were chosen by a panel comprising the QSA’s Chair and representatives from the Confederation of British Industry and the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills.

Cardiff and Vale College is one of the key partners in the QSA. Principal and Chief Executive Mike James said, “It was a pleasure to celebrate the achievements of each and every winner at the QSA Annual Awards.

“Apprenticeships are an important vocational route to a long and fruitful career. The awards evening demonstrates precisely the positive impact work based learning can have and the opportunities it can create. It also reminds me what a privilege it is to be part of the unique consortium.”

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Dates for your diary

9 June 2015
VQ Awards Ceremony – St Davids Hotel, Cardiff Bay
Email: karen.smith@ntfw.org for more information

10 June 2015
VQ Day 2015
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7 – 8 October 2015
Skills Cymru – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Email: gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk for more information

21 – 22 October 2014
Skills Cymru – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Email: gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk for more information

29 October 2014
NTfW Annual Conference – Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport
Email: karen.smith@ntfw.org for more information

29 October 2014
Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport
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19 – 21 November 2015
The Skills Show – NEC Birmingham
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Welsh Language/Culture

25 – 30 May 2015
Urdd National Eisteddfod, Caerphilly
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27 June – 3 July 2015
Tafwyl Week, Cardiff
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4 – 5 July 2014
Tafwyl Fair, Cardiff
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20 – 23 July 2015
Royal Welsh Agricultural Show (RWAS), Builth Wells
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24 – 26 July 2015
Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly
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1 – 8 August 2015
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Montgomeryshire
Click here for more information

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