Two Higher Apprenticeships have helped Rhyanne Rowlands develop in her role with Women's Aid RCT from volunteer to a full-time officer leading award-winning projects to support victims of domestic abuse.
A domestic abuse victim herself earlier in her life, Rhyanne, 38, from Aberdare, is now the Safer Rhondda development officer.
Having initially volunteered for a year, she secured a full-time job with Women's Aid RCT in 2016 and returned to learning with provider Educ8 to improve her knowledge and self-confidence.
Rhyanne has achieved Level 4 Higher Apprenticeships in Advice and Guidance and Leadership and Management and qualified as a domestic abuse specialist. She has now progressed to Leadership and Management at Level 5.
In recognition of Rhyanne’s successful learning journey, she has been shortlisted for the Higher Apprentice of the Year award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.
This annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.
Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.
The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Rhyanne develops new projects in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area to provide domestic abuse services to both men and women. Using skills gained from her apprenticeships, she has created and implemented the first Adverse Childhood Experiences project in Wales to increase and improve support services to adults affected by childhood trauma.
Rhyanne also set up and ran the Athena project to support women over the age of 50 to overcome self-confidence and isolation barriers caused by domestic abuse. The project won the Cwm Taf Crystal Trophy Award in 2018.
“After setbacks early on in life, I wanted to develop and apprenticeships provided the platform to do so,” she said. “It has been amazing to develop personally and professionally, which has greatly improved my confidence to take on new roles and tasks within my job.
“I would like to advocate that no matter what your background is and whatever your barriers are, you can still achieve.”
Charlie Arthur, chief executive of Women's Aid RCT, describes Rhyanne as “a considerable asset” who applies her skills and knowledge to improving services and contributing to strategic plans and project ideas, always ensuring that clients remain at the centre of any developments.
Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said:
“Our Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes are helping people fulfil their career ambitions and I’m delighted we have already reached our target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this Senedd term.
“This has been key in helping apprentices of all ages to gain important skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need. This will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.
“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of all involved, from star apprentices to skilled learning providers.
“I’d like to congratulate all the finalists announced for this year's event and wish each and every one all the best for the future.”