Apprentices and trainees throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have been celebrated for their success in a special ceremony.
The event illustrated how as an organisation, the Council recognises the importance of developing staff and its investment in the Apprenticeship, Traineeship and Care2Work schemes clearly demonstrates this commitment.
Together all three individual programmes run by the Council have allowed people of all ages groups to develop their skills and further their careers either through higher education or even full time employment. This has helped address wider issues affecting communities throughout the County Borough such as youth unemployment.
Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cllr Andrew Morgan, who attended the event at Llantrisant Leisure Centre said, “I am delighted to be here for this important event as we recognise the contribution you have all made to the Council whether that be through the Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Care2Work scheme.
“We introduced the Apprenticeship scheme in 2012 in response to the high rate of young people who were not in employment, education and training locally. This scheme, as well as the Traineeship and Care2Work schemes, is more than just about providing paid employment for people though, it is about investing in them and providing support, expertise, training and the opportunity to gain qualifications, skills and experience in a trade that will be with them for life.
“Our staff are the most important asset to the Council as we recognise the integral role they play in the delivery of services and it is vital that we continue to give people the opportunity to learn and develop new skills through these schemes.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the Council faces an extremely tough future given the level of funding cuts we are predicted to receive but, despite this, we remain committed to investing in these schemes.”
Also attending the event was fellow Cabinet Members at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Cllr Maureen Webber, Cllr Eudine Hanagan, Cllr Mike Forey and Cllr Geraint Hopkins. The were accompanied by the Council’s Chief Executive Steve Merrit and also MP for Pontypridd Owen Smith.
The Apprenticeship Scheme initially resulted in the intake of 33 apprentices in service areas such as Highways, Leisure and Finance. Each apprentice follows a qualification associated with their apprenticeship role in line with Welsh Government frameworks.
Each apprentice achieves a minimum of a level 2 qualification with many progressing to a level 3 plus two apprentices achieving a level 5 (foundation degree). A total of 30 apprentices have either continued their employment with the Council, private sector or decided to go to University or college.
A further 11 apprentices started with the Council in August 2013 and in September 2014 another 18 apprentices will take up their positions.
The Council’s Traineeship scheme, Step in the Right Direction is a two year programme developed to provide employment opportunities for looked after children and care leavers aged 16-21.
The programme was established as the Council recognised the importance of their role as corporate parents to our looked after children, and the fact that these young people may not get the same level of support around employment opportunities and training that mainstream young people may receive.
The programme aims to give each trainee work experience in a variety of different council placements over the two years, until they find an area of work that they wish to pursue longer-term.
The third scheme is the Care2Work programme which was introduced to provide young people living in and leaving care within Rhondda Cynon Taf with the encouragement, support and training required to ensure they are work ready and able to provide for themselves.
Through the support of an Employment and Training Co-ordinator they receive a range of career related advice and guidance and are supported to develop, both personally and professionally.
This may involve listening, advising, boosting confidence, arranging transport, offering reassurance or emphasising the positive aspects of a job or career. In addition, work placements are sought from corporate and private organisations with relevance to the young person’s skills, ambitions and abilities.