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Council’s focus on apprentices lead to national awards shortlist

Building a strong economy, promoting independence and positive living for all and creating neighbourhoods where people are proud to live and work are core Rhondda Cynon Taf Council goals.

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At the heart of this ethos is the council’s Apprenticeship Programme which offers apprentices the opportunity to learn and develop in a future-focused dynamic organisation.

Now the council has been recognised for its work by being shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. The company will be competing to become Macro Employer of the Year at the awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.


The annual awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship Programmes.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are supported by media partner, Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Thirty star employers, learners and learning providers from across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The council works with a range of external partners, including Bridgend College and Coleg Y Cymoedd, to deliver more than 20 Apprenticeships in diverse careers such as engineering, horticulture, health and social care, fitness, mechanics, and technical sound, light and stage.

With an ageing demographic, back in 2012 the council recognised the need to develop highly trained and experienced employees to meet future workforce challenges. The two-pronged approach is, firstly, to embed the current 85 apprentices alongside experienced mentors and a dedicated co-ordinator to develop them into highly competent individuals with long term employment prospects with RCT.

Secondly, the development of experience and knowledge will contribute to reducing levels of unemployment and the skills deficit throughout the borough.

External stakeholders play a critical part in the two-year Apprenticeship journey and recently the council collaborated with public service trade union Unison to create an innovative Apprenticeship Charter.

RCT’s employment, education and training manager Sian Woolson said:

“We view an Apprenticeship as the beginning of a journey extending beyond their initial two-year period. This has resulted in over 90% of our apprentices securing employment and education opportunities with the vast majority staying with us.”

The success of the programme has seen RCT develop secondary school workshops and collaborate with Merthyr Tydfil Council on a joint recruitment programme.

Congratulating RCT on being shortlisted for an award, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcase the success of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes and the achievements of our star apprentices, employers, learning providers and trainees.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for individuals to gain valuable skills and experience while earning a wage and for employers to ensure their workforce has the skills to future proof a business.

“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales have never been more important.”