Immediate: December 12, 2022
Higher Apprentice Sioned Williams is encouraging learners in Wales to develop their skills and careers by starting an apprenticeship.
Sioned, 41, from Trawsfynydd, is deputy manager of Welsh medium nursery Meithrinfa Twtlol at Pentrefoelas, near Betws-y-Coed, where she has worked for seven years.
She is working in the Welsh language towards a Higher Apprenticeship Level 5 in Leadership and Management in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development
through the City and Guilds, delivered jointly by Mudiad Meithrin and the Urdd.
Due to her passion for apprenticeships and the Welsh language, Sioned has been appointed an Apprenticeship Ambassador by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the National Training Federation of Wales (NTfW).
Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol leads the development of Welsh medium and bilingual education and training in the post-compulsory sector in Wales and the NTfW represents work-based learning providers across Wales.
“It doesn’t matter what your age and circumstances are, you can do anything you want with the support of an apprenticeship, when you put your mind to it,” said Sioned.
“An apprenticeship is a way of developing your career in the workplace while you are being paid. I have an excellent employer in Lowri Jones who has encouraged me to do the Higher Apprenticeship because she knows it will benefit the nursery.
“It can be hard working full time, being a mum and doing my Higher Apprenticeship but I manage and my tutors are very good. It’s important because there is so much I need to know working in a nursery.”
As Welsh is her first language, she is keen to promote it at every opportunity, particularly in the workplace. “I want to preserve our Welsh language, culture and heritage which are important to me,” said Sioned.
“If we don’t use the language, I fear it will eventually die out. If we carry on the way we are going, with Welsh medium and bilingual apprenticeships and courses, there is a big chance we can achieve the Welsh Government’s target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
The nursery, which cares for 56 children, is currently advertising for another apprentice.
Lowri Jones, owner of Meithrinfa Twtlol, praised Sioned for being a hard worker who liked to do things properly. “Because of her position as a leader within the setting, she has found the apprenticeship quite natural,” she said.
“Doing her apprenticeship through the medium of Welsh is really important because of the setting we are in. We have 56 children on our books and there are only two English speaking families, both of whom want their children to learn Welsh.”
Esther Mary Jones, Sioned’s tutor and assessor from Mudiad Meithrin, said: “Whilst doing the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship through the medium of Welsh, Sioned has been an enthusiastic contributor to training workshops and has shown an excellent breadth of knowledge and understanding in all the course tasks.
“As she embarks on the Level 5 Leadership and Management of CCPLD Practice, I look forward to seeing Sioned showcase her skills as she continues her learning journey.”
Lisa Mytton, the NTfW’s strategic director, said: “Many workplaces are becoming more bilingual, so completing an apprenticeship bilingually or in Welsh can increase an individual’s confidence to work in both languages and their employability.
“Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are excellent role models for apprenticeships, highlighting the benefits of learning and working bilingually in the workplace.”
Elin Williams, from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said: “This is the third year running that we have appointed ambassadors for the apprenticeship sector, and we think this is a vital tool in showing people that it is possible to continue with your bilingual learning through the apprenticeship route.
“With the Welsh Governments target to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050, it has never been more important to develop your bilingual skills and increase your employability prospects.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities go to Careers Wales https://careerswales.gov.wales/apprenticeships or telephone 0800 028 4844.
Apprenticeship Ambassador Sioned Williams, passionate about apprenticeships and the Welsh language.