There and back again: an unexpected journey…

Zoe Kelland, 20, of Rhoose is a former apprentice at the National Assembly for Wales. After graduating from the Assembly’s inaugural apprenticeship scheme, Zoe now works for the Health and Social Committee and recently attended the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014 to represent, reflect, and celebrate the Assembly’s apprenticeship scheme.

This is her story… #apprenticeshipawardscymru

L-R: National Assembly for Wales attendees at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014: Carolyn Owen (Secondment Manager), Lowri Williams (Head of HR), Ross Davies (Equalities Manager), and Zoe Kelland (TS Health and Social Care Committee and former apprentice).

I’m Zoe, I currently work for the Health and Social Committee, but I originally joined the Assembly two years ago as an Apprentice. I gained an NVQ in Business and Administration whilst working with the Visitor Relations team and the Translation and Reporting Service. I completed the apprenticeship scheme after a year and when an opportunity arose to work in Committee Service I was able to successfully apply. I have been working for the Health and Social Care Committee for eight months now and learn something new every day.

Even though I am no longer an apprentice by name, when the Assembly was shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014, it was a great opportunity for me to represent current and former apprentices at the prestigious Celtic Manor Hotel.

According to National Training Federation Wales (NTfW) ‘the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru celebrates the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships across Wales.’

On 31 October, 2014 the Assembly was shortlisted in the Large Employer of the Year category with fellow finalists:

  • City & County of Swansea Corporate Building and Property Services, Swansea;
  • Dunbia (Wales), Llanybydder; and
  • GE Aviation Wales, Nantgarw.

“Let’s all celebrate and have a good time!!” (Celebration, Kool & the Gang)
Having spent hours getting ready and making ourselves beautiful, we arrived at the Celtic Manor in style… via taxi!! We registered and headed over for a photo shoot, and then headed into the award ceremony reception area where we began tweeting from the @AssemblyWales feed.


Whilst we were waiting to enter the main hall for the award ceremony, we were sipping on flutes of champagne and were entertained by a wonderfully talented magician. Before we knew it, the reception was full of people: apprentices, employers, magicians and the familiar faces of Assembly Members. The doors opened and we all went to find our tables.

We were also joined by Picasso (Griffiths) at our table, who managed to draw some fantastic cartoons which had a striking resemblance to some familiar celebrities (see below):


Top L-R: Carol Smiley and David Baddiel. Bottom L-R: Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daley

The award ceremony was amazing!! We had excellent food, entertainment and the organisation of the event was first class. It was also interesting to see different apprentices from different industries, and how organisations provide opportunities for young people across Wales. There was a broad range of skills on show: from butchery to administration; hairdressing to engineering; even the wonderful meal we ate was prepared by catering apprentices working at the Celtic Manor.

Unfortunately the Assembly didn’t win the award, but we were thrilled to be nominated, especially considering that this was the first year we’d applied. The winners in our category were GE Aviation Wales, Nantgarw, and a full list of the winners can be seen on the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW) website.

The evening was brought to a close with a performance by Sophie Evans, known for her role as Dorothy in the West End’s version of the Wizard of Oz. The ceremony was truly enjoyable and we were all proud to be representing the Assembly. The evening also reminded me how far I’ve travelled since starting my apprenticeship scheme, and how long I have left on my journey along the Assembly’s yellow brick road…

Hopefully the Assembly can continue to provide opportunities to young people, and maybe next year we’ll bring home first prize? Fingers crossed!!


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