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Merthyr Tydfil apprenticeship programme boosting local industry

  • Categories : Press Release
  • 16 Oct 2019
Aspire celebration

Young people in Merthyr Tydfil are helping boost the growth of the local manufacturing and engineering industry as part of a successful employment apprenticeship initiative.

Over the past three years, the Welsh Government funded Aspire Shared Apprenticeship Programme has seen more than 30 young people placed with host employer companies while studying at the College Merthyr Tydfil, Coleg Y Cymoedd and Cardiff and Vale College.

Aspire is a partnership project in which apprentices are employed by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, trained by the colleges and Tydfil Training and placed with a local firm for two to three years, depending on the length of their apprenticeship course.

They are encouraged to rotate around employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector to fill any skills gaps in relation to their learning pathway, and are paid above minimum apprenticeship wages. There are also some financial incentives for employers to take part in the programme.

Today (October 16, 2019), Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates AM was in Merthyr Tydfil to hear more about the scheme at an event celebrating its success.

County Borough Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill told the event at Redhouse Cymru that manufacturing and engineering had always had a significant impact on the people of Merthyr Tydfil.

“From past glories such as the Hoover plant to more modern companies forging ahead with their products, engineering has always been at the heart of Merthyr Tydfil,” he said.

Before the introduction of Aspire, however, there had been a struggle to place young people into engineering apprenticeships locally. Many employers could not see the benefit of taking on apprentices and some indicated that they struggled with the complexities that come with managing a young new member of staff, Cllr O’ Neill added.

“The Aspire Programme has managed to change hearts and minds - building strong and trusting relationships with employers and mentoring the young apprentices through their journey to becoming fully qualified engineers.

“As a local authority, we are proud to manage a programme that has created over 30 opportunities for work placements and full time paid apprenticeships - all within the first three years of delivery. In light of the landscape Aspire was presented with, this is a fantastic achievement.”

Mr Skates said: “I am delighted the Welsh Government funded Aspire Shared Apprenticeship Scheme has created a number of opportunities for learners to gain valuable skills that will equip them well for the future.

“It’s clear both employers and partners have shown a real determination in providing the very best apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Merthyr Tydfil.

“Shared apprenticeships have proven popular and by moving between employers, apprentices can get a great understanding of different workplaces and develop their skills further.

“This scheme will really set these young people up for a more prosperous life and I wish each apprentice every success on their apprenticeship journey.”

Aspire applicants have to be aged between 16 and 24 years; possess five GCSEs grades A-C including STEM subjects and an A level pass in STEM subjects – especially maths and science; and either be starting VRQ, or have completed the Enhanced Engineering Programme or Pathways to Apprenticeships, or completed VRQ at college.

• If you run a Merthyr Tydfil manufacturing and/or engineering company and would like to learn more about the programme, please contact Jared Green on 01685 725309, email

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