Apprentice bereavement services officer Bethany Mason has won a prestigious national award after being recognised for her willingness to keep learning new skills and take on more responsibility in challenging circumstances.
Bethany, 21, from Llantrisant, who works for Rhondda Cynon Taf Borough Council, was named Foundation Apprentice of the Year when the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 winners were announced at a virtual ceremony on June 17.
Since joining RCT Council as a shy apprentice data entry clerk in 2016, Bethany has risen to a series of difficult challenges, making a huge difference to the staff of Glyntaff Crematorium at Glyntaff, Pontypridd and the grieving families they work with.
Committed to personal development, she has achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship and is now close to completing an NVQ level 3 in Business Administration, both delivered by Coleg y Cymoedd Nantgarw Campus.
Responding to her award, Bethany said:
“I’m thrilled to win the award which shows that hard work does pay off. I must also thank my managers and trainers for their brilliant support.
I plan to take every opportunity that comes my way in the future and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship because it helps to develop the skills that you need in your job.”
Celebrating outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 saw 35 finalists compete in 12 categories.
Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcased 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.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards had Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, as the headline sponsor.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. Welsh Government Apprenticeship Programmes have benefitted 50,360 people across South East Wales since May 2016.
Working closely with her manager, Ceri Pritchard, Bethany has developed leadership skills and improved the smooth running of Glyntaff Crematorium by digitising and centralising burial records and cemetery plans for RCT Cemeteries.
She also helped to introduce a digital portal to access music for family cremation services, together with webcasts and visual tributes, which have been incredibly important for funerals held during the pandemic restrictions.
The measures have improved efficiency and helped funeral directors and people wishing to trace their family history.
Soon after being seconded to the bereavement services team at Llwydcoed Crematorium, two of Bethany’s colleagues became ill, leaving her to learn new skills quickly to both manage the complex workload with her manager, and maintain a good, family-friendly service.
“My apprenticeship has not only given me the skills to perform my role professionally and diligently but has also allowed me to progress personally and develop my ability to deal with a variety of situations,” said Bethany.
“My confidence, self-esteem and performance at work have grown enormously and I take pride in the quality of my work.”
Congratulating Bethany, Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething, said:
“Our award winners have excelled via the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during unprecedented and extremely challenging times.
“This Welsh Government has ambitious recovery plans to ensure there is no lost generation as we rebuild a new version of Wales that becomes an engine for sustainable, inclusive growth. I believe apprenticeships will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.
“That’s why the new Welsh Government has committed to creating a further 125,000 Apprenticeship places over the next five years. We are a small country, but we have big ambitions, and our aim is to create a culture in Wales where recruiting an apprentice becomes the norm for employers.”