Rachel Lewis has been credited with almost single-handedly improving the delivery of essential skills qualifications at Bridgend College’s Apprenticeship Unit over the past two years.
With a thirst for continuous professional development, Rachel credits a background in care for being able to go the extra mile in bringing the best out of hundreds of apprentices that she has taken under her wing.
With an overall attainment rate of 90% in 2017-‘18, Rachel has nurtured a full range of learners from Foundation Apprentices with specific learning needs, through to senior leader apprentices at employers such as Tata Steel.
Her adaptable approach enables her to engage successfully with all of these different cohorts of apprentices and also, crucially, their employers.
Now Rachel’s work has been recognised, as she has been shortlisted for the Work-based Learning Tutor of the Year Award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.
Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.
The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
“Rachel is meticulous, has a tireless work ethic and a passion to ensure every single apprentice improves their skills and achieves their qualifications,” said Matt Williams, Executive Director for Work-based Learning at Bridgend College.
The 33-year-old’s journey to becoming a respected tutor is an example of how work-based learning can inspire and encourage an individual to pursue a new career.
Rachel’s own self-development is driving her exceptional delivery and, over the past four years, she has completed her TAQA L3 Assessing Award, TAQA L4 IQA, Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Training (PGCE), Digital Literacy Level 2 and Digital Literacy Practitioner Level 3. She is currently taking the Level 5 Management and Leadership Diploma.
“I am a passionate advocate for lifelong learning,” said Rachel. “Four years ago, I was a carer with a vision for wanting to make a difference to other people's lives. Working at Bridgend College has enabled me to do that, supporting hundreds of learners to achieve a better future for themselves and their employers.
“My own continuous development has helped my understanding of individual learners’ needs, making me a better tutor and helping me innovate my methods of teaching and assessment.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Rachel and all the other shortlisted finalists.
“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.
“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”