Apprentice who helped BT save £6 million shortlisted for national award

Posted on by karen.smith

James Parry with managers Sandra Sexton (left) and Rachel Ellis.

How many people can say they have helped save their employer £6 million? That’s what apprentice James Parry did by rearranging work agreements for a team of surveyors to meet a contract deadline, thereby avoiding financial penalties.

Now the 20-year-old from Pentre, Rhondda Cynon Taff has been shortlisted for a prestigious national apprenticeship award. He is one of three finalists in the Apprentice of the Year category at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014.

He will be among 36 finalists in 13 categories attending a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 31. The awards are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales by learners, employers and learning providers, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.

The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training. They are also a great way to evaluate training and development, as well as a fantastic motivational factor for any workforce or learner.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Recently seconded to a project management support role with Openreach (BT Group business), James mentors apprentices, has become an ambassador for Apprenticeships and is involved in pioneering work.

Having achieved 11 GCSEs, four A levels and one AS level at Treorchy Comprehensive School, he opted for an ICT Telecoms Professional Apprenticeship with BT, which he completed 10 months ahead of schedule with Acorn Learning Solutions.

Now undertaking a part-time degree in Business Management, he aspires to join the Openreach Succession Academy as a future leader.

James has been involved in many pioneering projects, including laying new fibre networks for BT’s Broadband Delivery UK Government project. He also participated in a project to rebuild a primary school in Kenya that will transform children’s lives.

All this has been achieved at a time when his mother has been battling cancer. “Although my personal life is tough, I still come to work with a positive attitude,” he said.

“Personally, I believe an apprenticeship is the best way to start a career whilst continuing a learning pathway tailored to that job role. I knew that an environment where I could learn, earn, develop and grow would allow me to thrive as an individual whilst making a positive impact within a company.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to start a successful career. You earn whilst you learn and gain nationally recognised qualifications. They also provide industry with a skilled, motivated and qualified workforce. I wish James every success in his career.”

More than 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team.

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