EXTENSIVE experience of the work-based learning sector in both Wales and England is coming in handy for Rhys Daniels in his new job engaging with employers and developing Apprenticeship opportunities in South West and Mid Wales.

Rhys, 37, from Swansea, has been appointed Apprenticeships Programme development manager for South West and Mid Wales by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), which represents more than 100 work-based learning providers across Wales.

He is one of five members of a new NTfW Apprenticeships Team appointed to make it easier for employers to engage with the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships Programme. The team’s mission is to increase the number of employers recruiting apprentices and using the Apprenticeships Programme to upskill their existing workforce.

The team will also encourage the recruitment of young people into employment sectors of national or regional importance. Funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund, the team is working with employers and interested stakeholders across Wales.

Rhys works with larger employers, especially those who pay the Apprenticeships Levy, to develop engagement and Apprenticeship opportunities.

Employers are referred to him after completing an expression of interest form on the Business Wales Skills Gateway https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/skills-and-training-programmes/apprenticeships.

He and the other team members quickly identify an employer’s needs and which Apprenticeship framework and pathway are required, before passing the referral to learning providers best placed to deliver the Apprenticeship Programme in specific sectors. Once suitable provision has been identified, it is then down to the employer to choose which provider they want to work with.

The team is totally impartial. From initial expression of interest to the learning provider contacting the employer should take no longer than five days. The team aims to make a significant contribution to helping the Welsh Government achieve its goal of creating 100,000 quality Apprenticeships in Wales during its current term of office.

Rhys became an apprentice with Swansea Council after leaving school and achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship and an Apprenticeship in Customer Service before qualifying as an assessor in retail at the age of 19.

He went on to work for Gower College and Rathbone Cymru before working for a training provider in England and running his own training company for seven years. When Apprenticeship funding changes were introduced in England, he decided to close the business and return to Wales.

“I have worked with training providers all my life and wanted to do something a bit different,” said Rhys.

“This new role with the NTfW gives me the opportunity to engage with employers in Wales, which I hadn’t done since 2005 and provide them with open solutions.

“I am passionate about Wales and very excited to work with learning providers and employers within the country. We will be doing more outreach work with employers to raise awareness of Apprenticeships.

“My ultimate goal is to establish an admired employer engagement model that brings together the expectations of employers and the NTfW network. Also, to create a sustainable partnership with large employers so that there continues to be employment opportunities for young people.”

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