An exciting career in civil engineering awaits apprentice Ceris Alaw Jones who is delighted to be able to learn through the medium of Welsh.
Ceris, 21, from Penygroes, near Caernarfon, works for Gwynedd Council and is working towards an Apprenticeship in Civil and Municipal Engineering, which is being delivered by Coleg Cambria.
She has also been appointed an Apprenticeship Ambassador by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which leads the development of Welsh medium and bilingual education and training in the post-compulsory sector in Wales and the National Training Federation of Wales, which represents work-based learning providers across Wales.
Ceris is enjoying her ambassadorial role and is well placed to pass on her own learning journey experience to others considering an apprenticeship.
She initially had her sights set on becoming a product designer and chose a degree course. However, after eight months, she decided the course was not for her and returned home.
Whilst working in Gwynedd Council’s call centre for a few months, she secured the opportunity to become a civil engineering apprentice and is now on course to completing the qualification which she hopes will lead to a full-time job with the authority.
“I have always had a massive interest in engineering,” explained Ceris, who works with highways and structures. “There is a lot of engineering involved in product design and my sister is a network engineer with Gwynedd Council.
“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship because it’s so interesting and really cool to see how things work. There are so many different aspects to a career in civil engineering that I would like to explore.”
Ceris hopes to progress to a degree course ambition and achieve her ambition of becoming a Chartered Civil Engineer.
“I think it’s important that my apprenticeship is being delivered bilingually because Welsh is our first language here in Gwynedd,” added Ceris. “Wales is such a small country and I think it’s essential that we keep our unique language alive.
“Learning through the medium of Welsh and being able to speak two languages are very beneficial when it comes to applying for a job in Wales.”
Proud to be chosen as an Apprenticeship Ambassador, she said: “From my personal experience, I would say that an apprenticeship is much better than going to university.
“I prefer to earn while I am learning in the workplace. You gain valuable work experience which employers now look for when they recruit.
“I really enjoy being an ambassador and passing on advice and my experience of being an apprentice. I think it’s important when you are looking for an apprenticeship that you do your research and ask questions of potential employers about the opportunities available to you.”
Alun Lloyd Williams, Gwynedd Councils senior learning and development officer, said: “Gwynedd Council believes that it is vitally important that all the apprenticeships we offer should be through the medium of Welsh or bilingually.
“Welsh is used in the workplace every day between colleagues and is an integral part of our day to day life here. It is fantastic that Ceris is inspiring others within her role as a Welsh Ambassador by sharing her experiences with others considering an apprenticeship.”
Llinos Roberts, head of Welsh language at Coleg Cambria, said: “At Coleg Cambria we are fully committed to further developing our bilingual programmes and promoting the Welsh language as a valuable skill for employment.
“We are delighted that Ceris is supporting this work in her role as an ambassador and is working really hard to persuade her fellow apprentices to develop their skills and become more confident in using the Welsh language at work.”
Welsh Language Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is fantastic that apprentices are being given the opportunity to complete their training programme through the medium of Welsh.
“It is important services like these are provided bilingually, as it strengthens the use of the language in day to day life and ensures speaking Welsh remains a valuable skill for employment.
“We have provided funding to support Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s Ambassador Scheme and it’s great to see people benefitting from this. I wish the best of luck to apprentices completing their training programmes and hope they enjoy long and successful careers.”
Ryan Evans’ role as the NTfW’s bilingual champion is to support training providers across Wales to increase their ability to deliver more apprenticeships bilingually or through the medium of Welsh.
“Many workplaces are becoming more bilingual, so completing an apprenticeship bilingually or in Welsh can increase an individual’s confidence to work in both languages and their employability,” he said.
“Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are excellent role models for apprenticeships, highlighting the benefits of learning and working bilingually in the workplace.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.