This week we are celebrating the 14th annual National Apprenticeship Week
Held between the 8th – 14th February this year, the event is a celebration of apprenticeship schemes across England and Wales and a time to recognise and applaud the success stories that they provide.
Here at Transport for Wales Rail we are fortunate to have a fantastic Learning and Development Team whose commitment ensures that we boast a strong record when it comes to our own apprenticeships and the amount of opportunities that we provide.
Whilst unfortunately apprenticeship recruitment is currently on hold temporarily due to the global pandemic, our vast range of exciting opportunities that we offer include qualifications in Rail Traction and Rolling Stock Engineering, Business Administration, Project Management, Customer Service, Social Media, Learning & Development, and a Degree level Apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering.
To find out a little more about the apprenticeship experience with us, we spoke to some colleagues who have been juggling their day to day roles with a placement on our Project Management scheme, to hear what they had to say.
Lucy Martin, who has been working as a Communications Assistant for the last year and a half but is currently in the process of transitioning into a new role with us as Business Support Co-ordinator, said:
“Since starting my career with Transport for Wales around a year and a half ago I have been working towards a Level 4 Project Management apprenticeship qualification alongside my role in communications.
“Having previously worked in Retail but with an ambition for a career in media & journalism, I heard about this apprenticeship when searching for communications roles in my local area and thought it was too good an opportunity not to apply for. It felt like the perfect step for me to kick-start my career in a field I wanted to go into, whilst at the same time achieving a valuable qualification in project management in the process – which sounded like an attractive prospect!
“The apprenticeship has supported me in developing my role and has taught me a wide range of skills that I plan to apply in my work moving forward. It’s also opened up incredible opportunities for me to further my railway career, playing a key part in leading me to where I am now as I begin transitioning into a new role within Transport for Wales as a Business Support Co-ordinator. I’m looking forward to the chapter ahead and to completing the rest of my qualification”.
Osian Flaherty, who has also been working as a Communications Assistant since joining the company in 2019, added:
“I first became aware of the opportunity to study the apprenticeship in Project Management when it was advertised as part of the job role that I was applying for with TfW.
“I was excited to learn before I’d even started that there would already be a great developmental opportunity to learn a new skill and earn a qualification alongside the role, testing myself in a completely new field.
“Whilst at times I’ve admittedly found it difficult to balance my apprenticeship work with my job due to the nature of the role and perhaps with the two not always aligning in the way I would want them too, studying an apprenticeship is undoubtedly an invaluable and worthwhile experience and something I would encourage anybody thinking about doing one to do.
“I’ve learnt so much in a short space of time about certain ways of working in the real-world, gaining incredible insight into the kind of work that goes into all sort of projects big and small that you perhaps don’t fully appreciate until you see it.
“I think every opportunity to further education of any kind should be grabbed at with both hands, especially one like this where extremely valuable qualifications are being offered by TfW alongside the day to day role. I would definitely say if you’re thinking about it, go for it!”
Of course, our apprentices don’t do it all on their own and are each provided with a mentor to guide and nurture them throughout the completion of their qualification.
We caught up with Barbara Coverdale, Lucy and Osian’s advisor from ALS (our leading provider of learning for apprentices), to find out a little bit about her role and to understand what apprenticeships mean to the educators as well as learners.
“Initially my background was in mechanical engineering having got my degree in my native Germany, however I soon realised that my strengths lay elsewhere in project management rather than in design work, so I decided to go and get myself qualified to teach it!
“I have now been in the education sector for 12 years, working with ALS as a Training Advisor for our Project Management Level 4 scheme for a number of years now and I really enjoy passing on some of my experience to a new generation of project managers in the South Wales region.
“Our apprenticeships offer a wide range of opportunities to develop our learners’ skills, allowing them to make substantial contributions to their teams at work whilst we underpin these skills with formal learning that eventually leads to a well-respected APM (Association for Project Management) recognised qualification.
“Our courses mean that apprentices are provided with countless opportunities to contribute to the development of processes and procedures, helping to aid successful project delivery across the business whilst forming a community of practice - benchmarking performance and supporting continuous improvement.
“I really do believe that training and qualifications like these are too good an opportunity to miss when they are provided by employers, especially during these uncertain times. And that applies to not only new recruits, but established professionals across the business too!”
If you are interested in finding out more or applying to one of the many apprenticeship that we have on offer once recruitment resumes, then please contact Claire.Lockyer@tfwrail.wales .