Support engineer Daren Chesworth is living proof that Apprenticeships can change lives.
Daren, 30, who lives in Garden Village, Wrexham, started work at Transcontinental AC UK Ltd in the town after being made redundant as a plumber, with a family to support.
Thanks to an Apprenticeship pathway, he has been transformed from an unskilled worker to a support engineer working as part of a multi-departmental team on various projects.
Now his learning journey has been recognised as he has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. He will be competing to become Higher 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.
As a trainee multi-skilled maintenance technician, Daren became Transcontinental AC UK Ltd’s first ever apprentice and achieved his Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture through Coleg Cambria.
He then progressed to a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) and a degree in Industrial Engineering (Mechatronics) with Honours, putting the knowledge and skills he had learnt into practice in the workplace.
He is now aspiring to become a Chartered Engineer and maintenance engineering expert through post-graduate research studies. He will shortly complete his MPhil before embarking on further studies for an MBA.
The knowledge he has gained enabled him to present a research paper on new maintenance techniques at the International Industry 4.0 Summit in March. He is developing a ‘smart’ maintenance strategy and has introduced a new procedure for testing transfer pumps, which is set to save his employer more than £20,000 a year in lost production.
“The Apprenticeship has provided me with a platform to develop a career in a subject which I am passionate about,” said Daren, who praised his employer and Coleg Cambria for their support. “I want to pass on my experience to others in the hope of being able to show that an Apprenticeship really can change your life.”
Dr Keith Vidamour, Transcontinental AC UK Ltd’s engineering manager, said: “From the outset, it was made clear the high expectations the company had of their apprentice and Daren has matched and surpassed these.”
Congratulating Daren 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.”