Twenty-year-old Lauren Richards has become an ambassador and role model for Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh and for encouraging children and young people in the Bridgend area to become more active.
Lauren, who lives in Maesteg, is a Sports Development apprentice with the Urdd, developing sports opportunities for children and young people. She previously completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Activity Leadership and a series of sport related qualifications.
Now, Lauren has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. She will be competing to become Foundation Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.
The annual awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship Programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are supported by media partner, Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Thirty star employers, learners and learning providers from across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Achieving three A levels and the Welsh Baccalaureate at school, Lauren opted to earn while she learned on the apprenticeship pathway and loves the variety offered by her job which sees her work in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council and several national governing bodies of sport.
She leads and organises holiday activities for more than 40 children daily and runs a girls’ project at her former school Ysgol Gyfun Llangynwyd, to counteract low activity levels among girls in Bridgend.
She has recently taken up an Urdd post to develop more Welsh-medium opportunities for the children and young people of the area. As a result of her work, more than 450 children and young people are keeping fit or active in weekly sessions through the medium of Welsh. She has also helped establish six new community clubs that operate through the medium of Welsh.
Lauren was a member of the Welsh Government's ‘A Million Welsh-Speakers' launch panel with former Wales football team manager Chris Coleman and First Minister Carwyn Jones and has appeared on the S4C programme ‘Prynhawn Da'.
“I believe I am a good ambassador for apprenticeships, the sports sector and the Urdd and feel that I have boosted the confidence of the girls with whom I work,” she said. “I have exceeded targets for getting people active in the area and support young people to develop their skills in preparation for university or employment.”
Congratulating Lauren on being shortlisted for an award, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, said:
“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcase the success of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes and the achievements of our star apprentices, employers, learning providers and trainees.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for individuals to gain valuable skills and experience while earning a wage and for employers to ensure their workforce has the skills to future proof a business.
“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales have never been more important.”