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Seven vacancies on Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme

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NETWORK RAIL is urging people with an interest in engineering to apply for its Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme, starting in March 2019.

The scheme has seven vacancies available, including positions in Llanelli.

The scheme launched in 2005. To date, 2,000 engineers have completed the course.

Bill Kelly, interim managing director for Network Rail, Wales and Borders said: “There is still time to apply for our 2019 Advanced Apprenticeship scheme and I encourage anyone that has the determination to make a difference everyday while contributing to building the railway of the future to take this opportunity. Our 1,600 employees are our greatest asset and central to providing a safe and reliable railway for our passengers every day.”

Open to anyone aged 18 or over on 1 March 2019, the scheme offers the opportunity to earn a salary while gaining recognised qualifications and chartered membership of a professional engineering institute plus valuable work experience and transferable skills.

Participants are guaranteed a job after completing the course. Currently, 75 per cent of people who finish the course choose to work for Network Rail, higher than the national average of 55 per cent.

More than four in five of those who started the scheme a decade ago are still working for Network Rail today.

For the first 21 weeks of the scheme, the apprentices live and learn at Network Rail’s state of the art centre in the Midlands. The rest of the duration is spent working from a depot close to home, specialising in a variety of disciplines to provide a wider view of the industry.

The apprentices will play a vital role in the team of front line engineers and technicians who fix and maintain Wales and Borders’ rail infrastructure.

As part of its initiative to encourage young people to join the rail industry, Network Rail has launched a new partnership with youth charity, Prince’s Trust Cymru, to offer a free training programme.

The Get into Rail Engineering scheme is a two-week personal development programme, designed to give unemployed people aged between 18 and 30 years old the opportunity to learn new skills in rail engineering, and will offer young people the opportunity and support to help them apply for Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships with Network Rail.

The scheme will offer taster days across the Wales and Borders route to allow young adults the chance to try out a career in rail, with one taking place on 31 October in Wrexham.

Ben Gough, an apprentice for Network Rail Wales and Borders, based in Hereford said: “I applied for the scheme because I believed it would be a fantastic opportunity to be involved with something that is different, interesting and an important part of British engineering. After some research in to the scheme, I quickly realised how many opportunities the three-year scheme had to offer.

“The scheme itself has given me plenty of opportunities career-wise. Not only am I currently being trained up to a technician standard, but I am acquiring many other qualifications such as an NVQ level 3, all of which will aid me in my career in the future.”

For more information about the apprenticeship opportunities and the application process, please visit networkrail.co.uk/careers/apprenticeships/ and for information on the Prince’s Trust programmes across Wales call 0800 842 842 or email general.wales@princes-trust.org.uk.

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Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary

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The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!

Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness, reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!

Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet August weather to build the beautiful shelter .

Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
area.”

If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: carms@tircoed.org.uk

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Local sailor taking on virtual London marathon

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A local sailor based in the Falkland Islands will be taking on the Virtual London Marathon this October to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Curtis Bowen, 24, from Llanelli, South Wales, was due to take on the London Marathon for SSAFA this April, but following the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, the race was cancelled. 

Fortunately, the London Marathon team created the Virtual London Marathon in its place, allowing runners to take on the challenge virtually alongside thousands of other runners on the 4th October.

Curtis said: “It was a shame that the London Marathon couldn’t go ahead as planned in April, but I think it is amazing that I am still able to partake whilst being in the Falkland Islands. I’m the first person to ever run the London Marathon in the Falkland Islands.”  

Curtis is currently serving in the Royal Navy, as a Leading Supply Chain Logistician, and has served for four years. His Father also served in the Royal Navy for twenty-three years.

The live virtual event on Sunday 4th October will invite runners to run the London Marathon in their own way, joining up to 45,000 runners up and down the country – and across the world – in the virtual 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, The 40th Race.

Curtis decided to raise money for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity after being an avid supporter of the charity and being inspired by his Father, Andrew, who raised over £6,000 for SSAFA. 

I chose to run the London Marathon for SSAFA to challenge myself and raise awareness for a great cause. My younger brother sadly took his own life a couple of years ago and I know that SSAFA are there to support those struggling with their Mental Health. I want to raise as much money as I can to support those struggling within the Armed Forces community.”

“My Father was also supposed to be running the London Marathon this year, but will now be completing the challenge virtually, alongside my brother, Luke, 12,000km away in South Wales.”

If you would like to support Curtis, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Bowen-London-marathon2020

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NHS COVID-19 app launches across Wales

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People are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app launches today [Thursday 24] after positive trials and will be a useful tool when used alongside Wales’ successful manual contact tracing system.

It will be available to those aged 16 and over, and forms a central part of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

The roll-out of the app in Wales coincides with a national campaign around how people in Wales can best support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme, including only getting a test if they are showing symptoms; self-isolating when required; and working with local contact tracers if they are contacted.

Wales’ contact tracing system – which is a publicly-run service and locally delivered – is working well and has seen a very high contract and trace rate. Latest stats show 94% of cases are being successfully contacted.

The app works by logging the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a test if needed and get your test results.

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of Wales’ coronavirus response, supporting the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme. The more people who download and use this app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We have worked closely with the app development team to ensure it works seamlessly across Wales and England, providing people with the right advice based on where they live. In Wales, the app will complement our existing contact tracing and testing services and will further support our co-ordinated response to COVID-19 at both a local and national level.

“I strongly encourage everyone in Wales to download and use the app to keep Wales safe.”

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth. These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed.

Today the UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.

In a joint statement Apple and Google said:

“We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.”

Whilst the app will be a major support for the contact tracing system, Welsh residents are being reminded to continue to keep Wales safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:

• Always keeping a distance
• Washing hands regularly
• Working from home wherever possible
• Following local restrictions
• Following the rules about meeting people
• Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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