You’re hired! Two Welsh railway workers in the running for Apprentice of the Year

Two Transport for Wales apprentices have been shortlisted for the honour at the Wales Transport Awards 2019

Fleet Engineering Apprentice Demi Woodham and Train Planning Apprentice Katie Ratcliffe were both nominated for the awards which celebrate the nation’s outstanding achievements throughout the industry’s sectors. The Wales Transport Awards takes place in Cardiff on 1 November.

This success supports the strategic vision that Apprenticeships are a key ingredient in our talent strategy.

It coincides with the launch of Transport for Wales’ new apprentice programme in September.

Demi was inspired to apply for her four-year apprenticeship after hearing other apprentices speak at a careers fair.

Having become a mum in her third year, Demi took just a few months off before returning to her apprenticeship and has shown perseverance and a passion for engineering.

The 20-year-old is based in the Cardiff Canton fleet depot helping to ensure TfWs fleet of 134 trains is kept running to the best possible standard.

She said:

“Before starting, I thought the Apprenticeship would be just like school, but I quickly learnt that the Apprenticeship was a welcomed alternative to school education – a clear structure was provided, with lots of practical experience providing the opportunity to ‘learn whilst you earn’.

“I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone including my friends and family.

“I’m proud of what I have been able to achieve and so thankful I was given the opportunity.”

Katie meanwhile began as a Customer Relations apprentice before moving into train planning. 

She has shown her commitment to the Rail Industry by joining the Young Rail Professionals (YRP) programme as an ‘Into Rail Manager’ – a fantastic initiative to promote the railway industry as a great place to work and to inspire and develop the next generation of railway talent.

“I am really pleased to be a finalist in the Wales Transport Awards,” said Katie.

I personally feel that apprenticeships are a great gateway into a career within the Rail Industry.

“Starting as an apprentice, I never thought I would learn and develop the way that I have.

“I believe that young people looking into a career in Rail should learn more about the apprenticeship schemes and look forward to the many opportunity’s that lay ahead.”

Career and Apprenticeship manager Ann Nicholas was pleased with the nominations, adding

“I am delighted that our Apprentices have been recognised and that we celebrate what is good about our sector that contributes so much to the Welsh Economy. Apprentices develop employees skills and knowledge that can be immediately applied in the workplace.

Transport for Wales has committed to creating more than 1,000 apprentice and graduate opportunities over 15 years as part of the £5 billion investment in the Wales and Borders rail service. On top of that, it has launched a brand-new Apprenticeship programme, providing new career opportunities for young people in the transport industry.

The first three Project Management Apprentice are now in post and excited to be starting a new career in an exciting industry.

Alannah Lewis, Katie Williams and Joshua Sheppard will be focusing on a range of projects in the Consultancy, Corporate Services and Rail Infrastructure teams, while working towards a project management qualification with Cardiff and Vale College over the next two years.

James Price, chief executive of Transport for Wales, said: 

“This is a key milestone for Transport for Wales as we develop our apprenticeship scheme and bring new opportunities to learn and work in Wales. The new apprenticeship scheme is in addition to TfW’s commitment to creating 30 apprenticeships per year as part of the £5 billion investment in the Wales and Borders rail service. More exciting opportunities will follow as the scheme is expanded. I’m excited to be working with our talented new apprentices, who will become an important part of the TfW family as they manage some of our key projects.”

Joshua, Katie and Alannah, all 22, said they were “thrilled and excited” to be starting their new roles.

“It allows me to get involved in upcoming projects to transform Wales and gain a qualification at the same time,” said Katie from Merthyr Tydfil.

It’s a pleasant working environment and everyone has been happy to help.”

Alannah, from Caerphilly, added:

I’m looking forward to being taking part in multiple projects and having the opportunity to enhance my skills and knowledge.”

And Joshua, from Birmingham, added:

I’m looking forward working with the Core Valley Lines team and on the exciting projects that are to come as part of the £738 million South Wales Metro scheme.”