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Cultural heritage apprentice inspired by her late grandfather

Inspired by her late grandfather and passionate about making history accessible to all, Esta is Rhondda Cynon Taff’s first Heritage Outreach Apprentice, supporting and creating learning and education opportunities as part of the authority’s heritage service.

Now undertaking an Apprenticeship in Cultural Heritage delivered by training provider Cardiff and Vale College, she has been shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s Talent Award at next month’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.

The new award seeks to reward a current apprentice who has ‘demonstrated significant personal progress’ and has made ‘a tangible and positive impact on their employer’s organisational performance.’

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.

Within a year of taking up her position, Esta, a 22-year-old Swansea University history graduate from Hirwaun, is running and developing workshops for the Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park. She is the first point of contact, helping plan visits and evaluating their success.

As a trained Autism Aware employee, Esta’s own experience of dyslexia has been pivotal in ensuring all learning styles are catered for, and her development of school workshops has generated extra revenue which contributes directly to the sustainability of the Welsh Mining Experience and the wider heritage service.

Heritage Services Operations Manager Sara Maggs said: “Esta’s success with school visits and the positive feedback means that for the first time we have received the Sandford Award, a sector quality assurance for heritage education programmes.

“Esta’s professionalism, competency and motivation to learn and develop skills and knowledge means she should go far.”

Esta said: “My inspiration is my late grandfather, Malcolm ‘Chick’ Chambers, a miner in the Rhondda and I love the fact that I can bring local history alive to schoolchildren. It is so important that they learn about their heritage.”

Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Esta 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.”