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Apprentice shares her Polish culture with pre-school children at Llandudno

Foundation Apprentice of the Year finalist, Malgorzata Bienko, (red top) Llandudno, with Jamie Norris of Arfon Dwyfor Training

A Polish apprentice has overcome language and hearing disability barriers to make herself a valuable member of the team at a North Wales pre-school setting.

Malgorzata Bienko, 41, works at School Lane Preschool in Llandudno, where she has completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development, delivered by Arfon Dwyfor Training Limited.

Having previously been employed in the social care sector, she has quickly adapted to working with young children and loves her job at the pre-school setting where she is encouraged to share Polish culture and traditions. She also supports Polish children attending nursery.

Now Malgorzata has been shortlisted for the Foundation 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.

Malgorzata, who wears a hearing implant, says she appreciates the support she has received from manager Sandie Cox, workmates and training assessor Jamie Norris to help her achieve her Foundation Apprenticeship

“By completing the apprenticeship, I have become a qualified member of staff and I try to put into practice everything that I have learned to deliver a high quality service to children and their families,” she said.

“I value the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout the apprenticeship as it translates into my personal development. The training has opened my mind and broadened my understanding about the importance of early years and the role of play in a child’s development.

“Being a childcare worker is a big responsibility but it’s also very rewarding.”

Having achieved a Foundation Degree in Art and Design at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and a BA Degree in Illustration from Glyndwr University in Wrexham, Malgorzata combines her artistic skills with child development knowledge when working with children on arts and crafts projects.

Sandie praised Malgorzata, a mother of three, for her hard work to achieve the Foundation Apprenticeship, overcoming language and hearing barriers in the process.

“She has really put her heart and soul into it,” she said. “She attends all workplace courses and is now vital to the setting as she is a qualified member of the team.

“Malgorzata has brought her culture to the setting too, celebrating different Polish traditions which has helped us to celebrate diversity with the children.”

Congratulating Malgorzata 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.”