This week is National Apprenticeship Week, and Community has been speaking to some of our members benefiting from the skills and education that a good apprenticeship offers.
Gareth Thomas is a 24 year old steelworker from Cwmbran in south Wales. Gareth recently completed a four year production apprenticeship at Tata Steel’s Orb works in Newport and had the honour of being presented with Tata Steel’s prestigious ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award.
Speaking about his experience as an apprentice, Gareth said:
“I had always wanted to get an apprenticeship when I left school. I thought about university a bit, but I wanted to get out there and learn on job, while earning a wage at the same time.
“I had a look at the different options on offer, but for me steelmaking stood out. The history of the industry in Wales is obviously huge, but I’m more interested in the future than the past. I honestly believe this could be a job for life, I’m really proud to call myself a steelworker.
“I’ve learned so much already, it’s been tough but I’ve found it really rewarding. My workmates have been great; it’s amazing speaking to guys that have been there over 30 years.
“It was quite a shock when I won Tata’s ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. They said that I’d shown real initiative in my work and rose to the challenges of my apprenticeship. It was really humbling to be recognised in that way, especially with so many great apprentices in the company.
“I joined Community on my first day at work and hope to get more involved with the union. I really want to give something back to my colleagues, and getting involved in the union would a great way to do that.”
Gareth is pictured here at work and also receiving his award at the recent Tata Steel ceremony.