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RCT Council Celebrates Success At Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021

Written by on 30th June 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council celebrated success at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Three of the Council’s apprentices were shortlisted for awards during the virtual online ceremony, held on Thursday, June 17, with the local authority also being crowned Macro Employer of the Year.

This is the second time that Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been awarded Macro Employer of the Year at Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. The Council was praised for the way that Apprentices were supported during the coronavirus pandemic to continue their studies, and also how Apprentices were deployed to support essential community services, such as working with the NHS on coronavirus shielding data and distributing food parcels.

Sophie Williams, of Hirwaun, won the Tomorrow’s Talent Award, and Bethany Mason, of Llantrisant, was the Foundation Apprentice of the Year. Council apprentice Owen Lloyd was also a finalist at the awards.

Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Council, I send my warmest congratulations to Bethany, Sophie and Owen on their success at the Apprenticeship Awards Cyrmu 2021.

“The Council’s Apprenticeship and Graduate Schemes have been extremely successful over many years, helping people to gain the important skills and experience needed to fulfil their career ambitions.

“Like so many of our Council apprentices, all three individuals do an amazing job within their respective service areas and I am sure they all have great careers ahead of them.”

Sophie Williams was aiming for a teaching career until she witnessed the beneficial impact that fostering has on the lives of children. After experiencing fostering firsthand when her mum, Lesley, became a foster parent, Sophie decided to strive to become a qualified social worker.

Sophie had already graduated from Swansea University with a degree in French and Spanish and had planned to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. But she opted instead to become an apprentice with Fostering RCT in September 2019, going on to be promoted to regional recruitment officer.

During her time with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Sophie has liaised with and visited fostering applicants and compiled life journey books for foster children, giving them an understanding of why they are in care. She has also cared for vulnerable and challenging children within residential services whilst on secondment.

Having completed an Apprenticeship in Business Administration, which was delivered by Coleg y Cymoedd, Sophie hopes to return to university in the future to take a Master’s Degree in Social Work.

Winner Sophie Williams said: “I really enjoy my work with Fostering RCT. After seeing firsthand the positive impact that love and care has on foster children, I wanted to work in and promote the service to encourage more people to consider fostering.

“My apprenticeship has given me the chance to gain full-time employment, get qualified and to see the many different aspects of social work.”

Bethany Mason also enjoys working at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and is committed to her personal development since joining the local authority as an an apprentice Data Entry Clerk in 2016.

Working within the Council’s Bereavement Service, Bethany has risen to a series of difficult challenges, making a huge difference to the staff of Glyntaff Crematorium and the grieving families they work with.

She has also developed leadership skills and improved the smooth running of Glyntaff Crematorium by digitising and centralising burial records and cemetery plans for RCT Cemeteries, along with helping introduce a digital portal to access music for family cremation services, together with webcasts and visual tributes, which have been incredibly important for funerals held during the pandemic restrictions.

Bethany also achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship and is now close to completing an NVQ level 3 in Business Administration, both delivered by Coleg y Cymoedd at the Nantgarw Campus.

Owen Lloyd completed a Level 3 BTEC in Construction and the Built Environment (Civil Engineering) course with distinction at Bridgend College, finishing his apprenticeship within a year – half the expected time. He has now started a HNC Level 4, ultimately aiming to qualify as a Chartered Civil Engineer.

Owen hopes to become a qualified Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) technician (EngTech) after being awarded an ICE Quest Scholarship and winning the Association for Public Service Excellence Highways and Street Lighting Apprentice of the Year Award last October.

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 is an annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.

The highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund.