Feb 2015 / Learners

Published: Daily Post, Wales Online, South Wales Evening Post and South Wales Echo

Giving an opportunity for young people to gain valuable experience in the workplace and nurturing future sport leaders for the industry – that is what Urdd Sport Director Gary Lewis hopes to achieve with the Urdd Gobaith Cymru apprenticeship scheme .

Urdd Gobaith Cymru promotes the use of the Welsh language and provides a range of opportunities through clubs, schools and community groups.

10 young people between 17 – 24 years old started an apprenticeship with the Urdd six months ago, which is offered in partnership with ACT Training. Five are placed in the Urdd outdoor educational centre, Gwersyll Glanllyn, with the other five working for the Sport Department in various areas across Wales including Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Cardiff.

During their 12 months placements, they will gain an NVQ level 2  in Activity Leadership, National Governing Bodies Qualifications as well as valuable work experience that will aid their career in the future.

Erddyn Williams, a 19 year old from Dyffyrn Ardudwy, is an apprentice based in the Bangor Urdd office. He said “I finished in Coleg Meirion Dwyfor last year, and to be honest I wasn’t happy with my grades. I hadn’t done any ex-curricular activities while I was in college, so this was an excellent opportunity for me to gain the necessary experience to win a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

“And the first six months have been great – in the first week I got my First Aid qualification and Athletics Leader Award. Since then I’ve gained numerous qualifications and have had valuable experiences – such as holding meetings with outside organisations, making presentations and altering session plans for different age groups. Since I’ve started with the Urdd in September, I have coached over 700 children in various sport clubs such as rugby in Barmouth and table tennis in Menai Bridge. This has been a great opportunity for me, and I am so glad that I took a year out. 

With around 80 new clubs established by the Sport Department every year, the apprentices have played an important role enabling this to happen. Gary Lewis, Urdd Director of Sport said, “What we need is grassroot manpower.  We can give these young people proper industry training so that they can take the lead when establishing new community clubs -which of course means that more of our members can enjoy after school activities through the medium of Welsh.

“The apprentices are great – they are so enthusiastic and make such a difference to what we can offer locally, regionally and nationally.  We hope that the clubs that they’ve established this year will then be run by local volunteers who have also been trained during the year.  We are very happy to be working with ACT on this scheme which is of great benefit to the Urdd and the young people.”

The official launch of the partnership between ACT Training and Urdd Gobaith Cymru will be held in the Cardiff City Sleepover on Tuesday, 3 March in the company of Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James. She said: The sports and leisure industry plays an important role in keeping the people of Wales active and healthy. I’m very pleased to see young people being offered apprenticeship schemes to build successful careers in this sector. That these programmes are offered in Welsh can only add to the career prospects of participants.

“Being able to speak and write in both Welsh and English can give someone an important advantage whether they are looking for a job or wanting to further their career.

“Businesses who offer bilingual services to the public receive a higher level of customer appreciation.”

Caroline Cooksley, ACT Development Director added, “It’s clear that the Apprentices are making a significant impact in their communities already and ACT is proud to be working in partnership with the Urdd to offer our young people the chance to become skilled, qualified and employable individuals whilst supporting the Welsh language.”