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Work-based learning practitioners shortlisted for national awards

Stephanie Fry from Wales England Care, a Work-based Learning Tutor of the Year finalist.

Star employers, inspirational learners and dedicated work-based learning practitioners across Wales have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru on June 17.

The annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards at a virtual ceremony.

Highlight of the of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. Welsh Government apprenticeship programmes have benefitted 101,590 people across Wales since May 2016.

Today, we introduce six successful work-based learning practitioners who are recognised with awards in two categories.

Work-based Learning Assessor of the Year

Lydia Harris, who has worked for Bridgend-based JGR Training for the past decade, believes flexibility, attention to detail and strong organisational skills are what drives her success in management training.

Challenges recently undertaken by Lydia include taking charge of JGR’s Essential Skills delivery, a commitment to learn Welsh and working towards her Institute of Leadership and Management Level 4 Diploma.

The 37-year-old said: “My award nomination came as a surprise, but it is nice to be recognised and I do believe that I go above and beyond in my role.”

Matt Redd has spent more than 20 years working at the cutting edge of the creative industry which is helping him meet the training needs of those starting out in the business.

As a writer and producer for both film and TV, Matt is a freelance trainer on Level 3 Apprenticeships in Creative and Digital media for Cardiff-based training provider Sgil Cymru.

Matt, who runs his own production company, Standoff Pictures Ltd, said: “Apprenticeships are a platform for talent to start out in a challenging and sometimes cut-throat industry.”

Rebecca Strange from Educ8, a Work-based Learning Assessor of the Year finalist.

Rebecca Strange has a passion for childcare and a wealth of experience as a former nursery manager.

This unassuming 37-year-old from Cardiff, said: “My manager tells me that I go over and above what is expected, but I see that as part of what I should be doing every day. It makes me proud to see my learners develop.”

Rebecca works for training provider Educ8 as an apprenticeship assessor in childcare across Levels 2 to 5, moving between nurseries, childminders and pre-school settings. She was instrumental in setting up the learning platform Moodle, now used across the company.

Work-based Learning Tutor of the Year

Many people see dyslexia as a barrier. Tutor Stephanie Fry, however, focuses on the opportunity it provides to successfully support her learners to achieve their full potential.

As skills manager for Wales England Care, Stephanie, 29, from Newport, manages a small team of skills coaches and specialises in supporting dyslexic learners, using her own experience of the learning disorder to do so.

Stephanie was diagnosed with dyslexia whilst at college, going on to achieve a Degree in Public Services. She reflects on her own learning journey to help learners overcome their fear of Maths and English.

Joining Wales England Care in 2017, Stephanie is passionate about continuous learning. She has completed a series of qualifications and is now working towards an Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management.

Accountancy tutor Karen Richards is achieving her mission of inspiring and supporting learners to be the best they can be. With a pass rate of 86%, her learners at ACT in Cardiff are well above the national average.

At any one time, Karen has more than 60 learners at various stages of their AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications, also teaching day and evening workshops that have been delivered online during the pandemic.

Karen, 54, from Blackwood, has been the accounting tutor and co-ordinator with ACT since 2016 and uses her experience to teach Advanced Diploma and Professional Diplomas in Accounting in an engaging and fun way.

In addition to teaching her own Level 4 learners at ACT, Karen also provides coaching support to other learning providers when their learners are struggling, adapting her teaching style and resources accordingly.

Hannah Kane-Roberts says one of the biggest rewards of her job is supporting learners through their journey and watching them flourish and succeed.

Hannah, 27, from Splott, Cardiff, is a youth tutor at work-based learning provider Itec’s Cardiff Centre where she works with learners who struggle to engage with education and who have multiple barriers to employment and learning.

An impressive 80% of her learners achieve a positive progression to employment, an apprenticeship or further learning and Hannah has achieved a 100% activity success rate in the employability qualification she delivers to her learners.

Passionate about continuous professional development (CPD), she has achieved a Level 4 Learner Coach qualification, BSc (Hons) degree in Sport and Physical Education and a Professional Graduate Certificate In Education.