National apprenticeship week (14-18 March) holds a special cause for celebration at Coleg y Cymoedd this year, as it marks the official anniversary of the announcement of the college’s multi-million pound Railway Training Centre of Excellence.
Just one year later, the £3.08 million investment to the create the college’s Nantgarw-based Rail Centre has provided top-of-the-line training facilities for over 70 learners, including many highly sought after apprenticeship places with the industry’s leading employers.
Chloe Thomas, an Arriva Trains Wales apprentice, is one of the first to benefit from the facility’s state-of-the-art indoor learning centre and full scale outdoor replica railway track.
Chloe, 18, from Barry, Cardiff, is currently studying towards her Level 3 Subsidiary in Electronic Technology. Commenting on her apprenticeship and future career plans, she said: “Arriva Trains Wales selected Coleg y Cymoedd and my time here has been very beneficial, the facilities and teachers are great. I’m really enjoying my time here and after this two year course I’m planning to stay here for my HNC in engineering.
“The apprenticeship with Arriva Trains Wales is my first full-time job and there’s a lot to take in and learn but I’m enjoying every minute. One of the most enjoyable parts of the job is the varied nature of the work. Every day is different with another challenge to face.
“Working in such a large and successful organisation and being able to put the skills I learn into practice will hopefully give me the springboard to a long and successful career in the industry.
“I would encourage anyone considering a career in engineering to look into the rail industry because I have already found it to be a fantastic learning experience. I am looking forward to my future at Arriva.”
Judith Evans, principal of Coleg y Cymoedd said: “Our rail facility is designed to place our learners at the forefront of a skilled rail workforce in Wales. With major rail investment programmes underway, we hope that like Chloe, all of our learners will find that their time at the rail centre to be the springboard to highly rewarding careers in the industry.”
Since 2014 Arriva Trains Wales has recruited 12 Apprentices under the age of 24, with seven securing full-time work and the remaining five working towards qualifications in a wide range of disciplines from Engineering (HNC), ICT (Level 3 NVQ Certificate), Business Administration (Level 3 NVQ Certificate) in order to secure future employment with Wales’ leading rail operator.
Elin Thomas, Recruitment and Talent Manager for Arriva Trains Wales, said: “The recruitment of our apprentices has made a significant contribution to the future sustainability of the business, with every apprentice we have taken on over the last few years securing future employment with the business, from customer service and train planning to engineering.”