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Natalie Morgan, Higher Apprentice of the Year award winner.

 

Natalie Morgan’s life-changing decision to return to Wales to pursue a career in sport with Welsh Gymnastics, after working within the performing arts sector for several years, has paid rich dividends.

Natalie, 33, from Penarth, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year when winners of the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 were announced at a virtual ceremony on June 17.

She successfully completed a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Leadership and Management with Cardiff-based Portal Training and has now progressed to Level 5.

Using the skills she learnt during her apprenticeship, Natalie was able to lead a successful outreach project to engage with young girls and women from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community in Cardiff which led to the formation of a gymnastics club for them.

Launched with 11 girls, the club grew to more than 130, increasing numbers by 98% in just 18 months. Welsh Gymnastics achieved its aim of building a club run by the community itself, as all 10 adult volunteers have now become qualified coaches, supported by 16 young sports leaders.

The project has also been successful in building relationships outside of the club. Welsh Gymnastics has developed strong partnerships with organisations including Diverse Cymru, Mount Stuart Primary School and Cardiff Council.

“It means the world to me to win this award,” said Natalie. “I am thrilled that I was able to complete my apprenticeship whilst managing such a wonderful project within the community.

“It has been an enlightening few years and I am so grateful that the apprenticeship has provided a springboard to so many other opportunities.

“I would highly recommend a Higher Apprenticeship to anyone thinking about it. It’s a wonderful way to continue learning and an opportunity to expand knowledge whilst working on some fantastic jobs.”

Celebrating outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 saw 35 finalists compete in 12 categories.

Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcased businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards had Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, as the headline sponsor.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. Welsh Government Apprenticeship Programmes have benefitted 50,360 people across South East Wales since May 2016.

Natalie is now working on two further projects as a result of her apprenticeship: one with Early Years Wales and the other for UEFA, in collaboration with Disney, to promote physical literacy through storytelling. She has also launched her own small business, The Sweet and Sound Co.

Carys Kizito, Welsh Gymnastics’ compliance manager, said: “Natalie has used her passion and commitment to learning to provide quality opportunities for others.”

Congratulating Natalie, Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething, said: “Our award winners have excelled via the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during unprecedented and extremely challenging times.

“This Welsh Government has ambitious recovery plans to ensure there is no lost generation as we rebuild a new version of Wales that becomes an engine for sustainable, inclusive growth. I believe apprenticeships will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.

“That’s why the new Welsh Government has committed to creating a further 125,000 Apprenticeship places over the next five years. We are a small country but we have big ambitions, and our aim is to create a culture in Wales where recruiting an apprentice becomes the norm for employers.”

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Mae penderfyniad Natalie Morgan i ddod yn ôl i Gymru i ddilyn gyrfa mewn chwaraeon gyda Gymnasteg Cymru, ar ôl gweithio yn sector y celfyddydau perfformio am sawl blwyddyn, yn talu ar ei ganfed iddi.

Enillodd Natalie, 33, o Ben-arth, wobr Prentis Uwch y Flwyddyn pan gyhoeddwyd enillwyr Gwobrau Prentisiaethau Cymru 2021 mewn seremoni rithwir ar 17 Mehefin.

Llwyddodd i gwblhau Prentisiaeth Uwch (Lefel 4) mewn Arweinyddiaeth a Rheolaeth gyda Portal Training o Gaerdydd ac yn awr mae wedi symud ymlaen i Lefel 5.

Diolch i’r sgiliau a ddysgodd yn ystod ei phrentisiaeth, roedd Natalie yn gallu arwain prosiect llwyddiannus i ymgysylltu â merched ifanc a menywod o gymuned pobl dduon, Asiaidd a lleiafrifoedd ethnig yng Nghaerdydd ac arweiniodd hynny at ffurfio clwb gymnasteg ar eu cyfer.

Lansiwyd y clwb gydag 11 o ferched, ond tyfodd i dros 130, gyda chynnydd o 98% yn nifer yr aelodau mewn dim ond 18 mis. Llwyddodd Gymnasteg Cymru i gyrraedd y nod o adeiladu clwb sy’n cael ei redeg gan y gymuned ei hunan, gan fod pob un o’r 10 o oedolion oedd yn gwirfoddoli wedi dod yn hyfforddwyr cymwysedig erbyn hyn, ac mae 16 o arweinyddion chwaraeon ifanc yn eu helpu.

Llwyddodd y prosiect i feithrin cysylltiadau y tu allan i’r clwb hefyd. Mae Gymnasteg Cymru wedi meithrin partneriaethau cryf gyda sefydliadau fel Diverse Cymru, Ysgol Gynradd Mount Stuart and Chyngor Caerdydd.

“Mae ennill y wobr hon yn meddwl y byd i mi,” meddai Natalie. “Rwy wrth fy modd o feddwl fy mod wedi gallu rheoli prosiect mor wych yn y gymuned wrth wneud fy mhrentisiaeth.

“Rwy wedi dysgu llawer dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf ac rwy mor ddiolchgar bod y brentisiaeth wedi agor y drws i gymaint o gyfleoedd eraill.

“Byddwn yn argymell Prentisiaeth Uwch yn fawr i unrhyw un sy’n ei ystyried. Mae’n ffordd wych o barhau i ddysgu ac yn gyfle i ehangu’ch gwybodaeth wrth weithio ar brosiectau ardderchog.”

Roedd Gwobrau Prentisiaethau Cymru 2021 yn dathlu llwyddiant eithriadol ym myd hyfforddiant a phrentisiaethau ac roedd 35 o ymgeiswyr yn y rownd derfynol mewn 12 categori.

Y gwobrau oedd uchafbwynt y flwyddyn i’r byd dysgu seiliedig ar waith. Roeddent yn rhoi sylw i fusnesau ac unigolion oedd wedi rhagori yn Rhaglenni Prentisiaethau a Hyfforddeiaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ac wedi mynd yr ail filltir i lwyddo yn ystod y cyfnod anodd hwn.

Trefnwyd y gwobrau ar y cyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru a Ffederasiwn Hyfforddiant Cenedlaethol Cymru (NTfW). Openreach, busnes rhwydwaith digidol y Deyrnas Unedig a chwmni sy’n frwd o blaid prentisiaethau, oedd y prif noddwr.

Caiff y Rhaglen Brentisiaethau yng Nghymru ei hariannu gan Lywodraeth Cymru gyda chymorth Cronfa Gymdeithasol Ewrop (ESF). Mae 50,360 o bobl ledled y de-ddwyrain wedi elwa ar raglenni prentisiaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ers mis Mai 2016.

Mae Natalie yn gweithio ar ddau brosiect arall o ganlyniad i’w phrentisiaeth: un gyda Blynyddoedd Cynnar Cymru a’r llall ar gyfer UEFA, ar y cyd â Disney, i hyrwyddo llythrennedd corfforol trwy adrodd straeon. Mae hefyd wedi lansio ei busnes bach ei hunan, The Sweet and Sound Co.

Dywedodd Carys Kizito, rheolwr cydymffurfio gyda Gymnasteg Cymru: “Mae Natalie wedi defnyddio ei hangerdd a’i hymroddiad i ddysgu er mwyn rhoi cyfleoedd da i bobl eraill.”

Wrth longyfarch Natalie, dywedodd Gweinidog yr Economi, Vaughan Gething: “Mae enillwyr y gwobrau wedi rhagori wrth ymwneud â Rhaglenni Prentisiaethau a Hyfforddeiaethau Llywodraeth Cymru ac wedi mynd yr ail filltir i lwyddo yn ystod y cyfnod anodd hwn na welwyd ei fath o’r blaen.

“Mae gan Lywodraeth Cymru gynlluniau uchelgeisiol ar gyfer ailgodi gan sicrhau nad oes cenhedlaeth goll wrth i ni ailadeiladu fersiwn newydd o Gymru a fydd yn beiriant i greu twf cynaliadwy a chynhwysol. Rwy’n credu y bydd prentisiaethau’n hollbwysig wrth i ni ddod dros effeithiau’r pandemig.

“Dyna pam y mae Llywodraeth newydd Cymru wedi ymrwymo i greu 125,000 o lefydd ychwanegol ar Brentisiaethau dros y pum mlynedd nesaf. Gwlad fechan ydym ond mae gennym uchelgeisiau mawr a’n nod yw creu diwylliant yng Nghymru lle mai recriwtio prentis yw’r norm i gyflogwyr.”