Enable Accessibility Bar

Apprentices nominated for Learner of the Year awards

A number of apprentices across Coleg Ceredigion and Coleg Sir Gâr have been nominated for Learner of the Year awards under the B-WBL Consortium.

Apprentices have been nominated for their commitment, high level skills and contribution to their business.

The awards will take place on May 19, 2023.

B-wbl is a work-based learning Consortium led by Pembrokeshire College, with partners from across Wales.

Dion Evans – Coleg Ceredigion

Dion is employed by Alwyn Evans Ltd in Talgarreg as an apprentice and gained his level three City & Guilds NVQ diploma in bench joinery at Coleg Ceredigion’s Cardigan campus.

He started at the joinery helping out during school holidays and soon realised this was the career pathway for him.

When he left school, he started on a level one carpentry and joinery course and then gained an official apprenticeship with Alwyn Evans.

Dion is an award-winning apprentice who has won many accolades including WorldSkills medals at regional and UK level.

Losing his mum to cancer at aged eight however, did have an impact on his life but working at the joinery helped him to focus and build his confidence.

Alwyn Evans said: “Before Dion started working with me, I was the only person working for the company.

“Since Dion has been working for me, he has been able to take on more work and bigger projects and this has had an impact on the business, increasing sales by 20%.

“His success in skills competitions has also generated positive publicity for the company and his ongoing learning has enabled him to contribute well to the business.”

As well as his successful medal wins and as a result of taking part in skills competitions, more recently, Dion has been selected as part of the UK Squad for WorldSkills, Lyon 2024.  His apprenticeship achievements were also recognised as a finalist at the National Apprenticeship Awards Cymru in 2022.

He also won silver for joinery in 2020/21 in Skills Competition Wales, a bronze for joinery in 2021 for WorldSkills UK, a bronze for carpentry in 2021/22 for Skills Competition Wales and another bronze for joinery in 2022 for WorldSkills UK.

In his personal life, Dion and his sister organised a fundraising event, cycling 75 miles and walking 18 miles in memory of their mother, raising £17,609 for the chemotherapy unit at Glangwili Hospital.

Steffan Thomas – Coleg Ceredigion

Joinery apprentice Steffan Thomas achieved high grades in his GCSEs but couldn’t decide whether to follow a vocational route in carpentry and joinery or a graphic design qualification.

With concerns about what he would do following university, he decided it wasn’t the path for him and was advised that he could still gain a degree by working his way up the career ladder.

He asked local joinery company, Steve James Joinery Ltd, for some work experience and this offered the chance to learn the difference between site carpentry and joinery.

These three weeks gave Steffan an understanding that he preferred joinery to working onsite and was fortunate enough to be offered employment by the company whilst undertaking a Foundation Apprenticeship in wood occupations and then progressed, with the support of his employer, to an apprenticeship in architectural joinery.

He now helps to create windows, doors, staircases and occasionally helps to fit them onsite, a working balance which he enjoys.

Stephen James of Stephen James Ltd said: “Steffan’s unique ability as a joiner makes him a highly valued member of the team and an asset to the company. We are able to rely on him to carry out given working instructions to a high standard and on time, which as a result has boosted productivity.”

Steffan was also a student ambassador at college and helped talk to parents and prospective students when open evenings went online.

During his studies, Steffan achieved a gold medal in Skills Competition Wales for the academic year 2020/2021, a highly commended for WorldSkills UK in 2021 and a gold in carpentry in Skills Competition Wales in 2022/23.

He hopes to progress onto an HNC in construction management and technology whilst continuing his employment with Steve James Ltd.


Mason Guard – Coleg Sir Gâr

Mason had received a diagnosis of ADHD and as a result was finding a classroom environment very challenging at school and due to his behaviour, he was referred to the CSTLC Unit at Gwenllian Education Centre.

However, Mason now manages his ADHD with training and exercise and has been practicing Jiu Jitsu for seven years and teaches four to 12-year olds. It was at his club where he met Mathew Eynon, one of the club’s instructors who also runs Tyre Busters and he offered him a work placement as he could see Mason’s potential.

Mason started on the Jobs Growth Wales (JGW) engagement programme and has progressed on to the advancement strand working towards a level one motor mechanics qualification whilst he continues to gain work experience at Tyre Busters.

His employer and Coleg Sir Gâr tutors are extremely happy with Mason’s work and enthusiasm for both his working and college role and he is also undertaking Essential Skills to improve his literacy and numeracy.

Mason has really improved and has gained confidence, maturity and responsibility, having to complete time sheets at work for payment and dealing with customers and colleagues.

The college could see the potential in Mason once he gained a passion for something, in his case, motor mechanics, as this was evident in his leadership qualities whilst teaching Jiu Jitsu to children.

Mason’s next step is to apply for an apprenticeship programme and from a recent assessment, he has the ability to enter at level two, which shows real progression.

Ellie Louise Sharpe – Coleg Sir Gâr

Ellie returned to Wales after living in Ireland and was working in a retail outlet before enrolling on a full-time hairdressing course at college as she was considering working for herself as a hairdresser.

However, Ellie confided that she was struggling being in a classroom environment full-time and had limited knowledge of the sector so she was very relieved to learn she could transfer to a work-based learning programme where she could develop more of her practical skills in a work setting.

She completed a short period on the engagement programme to confirm that her career choice was the right one and then completed a level one hairdressing qualification but on a one-day-a-week basis, whilst working at Bella Capelli.

Whilst on the advancement programme, Ellie developed confidence and excellent customer service skills and her work was always to the highest standards.

Ellie transferred to another salon to enable her to progress to a level two qualification and she has successfully completed both the engagement programme and advancement strand of the JGW+ programme.

She is now taking part in a foundation apprenticeship at Funky’s Hair Salon where she is very well liked and demonstrates a methodical and organised approach to her work.

Despite personal challenges, Ellie responded well to the advice and guidance from her employers, training advisers and family and is reaching her full potential at work and gaining an industry recognised qualification.

Dan Blyth – Coleg Sir Gâr

Former teacher Dan Blyth, changed careers and is now working in the newly-formed Culture and Workforce Experience team within the NHS.

He chose an apprenticeship as his manager suggested he undertake some training to develop his skills in HR and so he completed Coleg Sir Gâr’s university level five CIPD qualification in applied human resources on a part-time basis and he has currently progressed to level seven.

Dan completed some of his studies during the pandemic but as he was working for the NHS, his workload involved onboarding thousands of new colleagues at the height of Covid-19.

His role now is to positively progress organisational culture which includes many aspects such as increasing staff engagement, improving communication and promoting greater diversity.

He has been a driving force and is a highly valued colleague amongst the wider workforce including his peers and senior leaders and has built trusted relationships with staff, with an empathetic and supportive approach.

His employer says that Dan has had a huge impact on organisational culture with rising percentage rates in the many areas that he has been driving.

They also said that his ability to review and analyse cultural challenges has been of great value to their team and his unique viewpoint and ideas have helped support new ways of thinking.

Dan has also worked on performance management training and compliance, Healthy Working Wales Corporate Health Standard and the health board’s workforce experience agenda.

In addition, Dan is also volunteering for a local charity as a director providing HR strategies and support.

He underwent a significant change in his career through the pandemic, learning online and living on his own and his success, resilience and empathetic approach is the reason why he was nominated for this award.

Inspiring Learners

Get in Touch

Park Place
SA43 1AB
01239 612032

Get in Touch

Llanbadarn Fawr
SY23 3BP
01239 612032

Coleg Ceredigion is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No. 08725643 and is a registered charity No. 1154557.
The registered office is at Park Place, Cardigan, Ceredigion, SA43 1AB