A teenage carer with a passion for her work and the Welsh language has been appointed as an Apprenticeship Ambassador.
Elen Lewis, 19, who lives in Narberth, is developing a career in health and social care thanks to a bilingual Foundation Apprenticeship opportunity provided by the town’s Blaenmarlais Care Home.
Elen believes care is her true vocation and may consider training to become a hospital nurse in the future.
Due to her passion for the Welsh language and apprenticeships, she has been appointed an Apprenticeship Ambassador by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (CCC) and the National Training Federation of Wales (NTfW).
CCC leads the development of Welsh medium and bilingual education and training in the post-compulsory sector in Wales and the NTfW represents work-based learning providers across Wales.
Elen began working at Blaenmarlais Care Home 18 months ago, having previously taken a Health and Social Care Level 3 course at Pembrokeshire College. She is now completing her Foundation Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care through City & Guilds, delivered by the same college and hopes to progress to a Level 3 Apprenticeship.
Happy speaking in both Welsh and English to improve her language skills, Elen said: “I love my job because it’s so rewarding to care for our residents and develop a relationship with them. A couple of them enjoy having a conversation in Welsh.”
She is proud to be an Apprenticeship Ambassador because, she says, it gives her a chance to promote the Welsh language: “I like apprenticeships because they allow people to earn while they learn, which is one of the main reasons I was not interested in going to university.
“Welsh medium and bilingual apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn in the language of your choice and encourages the use of the Welsh language, which is important.
“We have spoken Welsh in my family for generations and it’s a unique language to our country and should be preserved. It’s a real bonus when you go into a job and you have an opportunity to speak both Welsh and English.”
Helen Hill is deputy manager of Blaenmarlais Care Home, which has 22 residents and 30 staff, including four apprentices. Despite only two residents speaking Welsh, she thinks it’s important that they are able to converse in the language of their choice.
“We support the opportunity for our staff to do bilingual apprentices if they wish,” she said. “I am one of five members of staff who speak Welsh and am proud of the language and my heritage.”
Janice Morgan, Pembrokeshire College’s Welsh language development officer, has taken on an extra role as bilingual support tutor, funded by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.
“Elen is an excellent Apprenticeship Ambassador and fully realises the importance of using her Welsh language skills in her work setting when speaking to residents and staff in their first language,” she said.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities go to Careers Wales https://careerswales.gov.wales/apprenticeships or telephone 0800 028 4844.