Bilingual apprenticeships are helping two men to develop promising careers at a leading North Wales social enterprise that provides jobs and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities in their own community.
Tom Workman, 39, senior bikes officer and Jack Williams, 24, bikes officer, work for Antur Waunfawr, based in Waunfawr and Caernarfon, where they are close to completing an Apprenticeship (Level 3) and Foundation Apprenticeship (Level 2) respectively in Sustainable Recycling Activities.
Their apprenticeships are being delivered bilingually by Amy Edwards, head of Cambrian Training Company’s sustainable, food, drink and business unit.
Tom and Jack run Antur Waunfawr’s bike shop, Beics Antur Bikes, which hires bikes, including ebikes and adaptive bikes, as well as refurbishing and recycling donated bikes and supporting and training individuals with learning disabilities.
Antur Waunfawr employs 97 staff and supports 65 adults with learning difficulties, whilst also providing valuable reuse, recycling and health and wellbeing services to the communities it serves.
Tom, who previously was a statistician with the WJEC in Cardiff before moving to North Wales, says he has found his “dream job” with Antur Waunfawr and is enjoying his bilingual apprenticeship – the first time he has studied in Welsh.
“My advice to anybody considering an apprenticeship is to pick something that interests you and go for it,” he said. “I like a new challenge and see myself working at Antur Waunfawr for a good while because I work with good people.”
Jack, who previously worked in an office for four years, says he loves his job because of the interesting variety of work and he enjoys making a positive impact in the lives of the people he supports and trains.
“The main benefits of an apprenticeship are that you are learning and developing your career whilst also improving yourself as a person,” he added. “It has been really helpful to do the apprenticeship through the medium of Welsh.
“I would definitely like to climb the ladder within the company and progress to a Level 3 Apprenticeship.”
Gwenlli Wynne, Antur Waunfawr’s business development manager, says Tom and Jack are valuable members of staff. “It has been great to see them develop since they started with us in 2021,” she added.
“They have both completed Level 2 and 3 Cycle Mechanics qualifications and are aiming to finish their apprenticeship by the end of this month.
“As Antur Waunfawr works in the medium of Welsh, it’s important that we can offer our staff the opportunity of completing qualifications in Welsh, their first language. Having the regular onsite visits from Cambrian Training staff in Welsh has made the experience easier for our staff.”
Amy Edwards said of Jack and Tom: “They are very good learners with excellent customer service skills and are keen to develop their skills and knowledge to provide training support to the adults with learning difficulties that they work with.
“Jack’s first language is Welsh and most of his discussions with me are recorded in Welsh. Tom prefers to complete his written work in English but confidently speaks Welsh during his observations.”
Recognising the value of bilingual apprenticeships to the business, Antur Waunfawr and Cambrian Training Company are showcasing apprentices Tom and Jack to celebrate Apprenticeship Week in Wales from February 6-12. Find out more here.
Apprenticeship Week highlights the benefits of apprenticeship programmes to employers and individuals alike. Work-based apprenticeships offer the perfect combination of earning and learning, allowing apprentices to continue education and gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst working alongside experienced staff.
They are open to everyone over the age of 16, of all abilities, and support is tailored for each business and apprentice. Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner in 23 industry sectors.
For employers, apprenticeships can create a motivated and highly skilled workforce whilst reducing training and recruitment costs so encouraging overall business growth.
As part of its ‘Genius Decision’ campaign, the Welsh Government says apprenticeships help individuals accelerate their career by providing hands-on experience and skills to help businesses train and recruit in a cost-effective way.
Learn more about apprenticeships in Welsh and how Cambrian Training Company promotes the use of the Welsh language here.
The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.