Confidence boost helps Owen’s career plans

Posted on by karen.smith

A Cardiff teenager, who has improved his skills and gained a huge amount of confidence since beginning his Traineeship Programme, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Owen Edwards, 17, is one of 28 finalists in nine categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality Apprenticeships and Traineeships across Wales. Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes in Wales are part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

The winners will be announced at a high profile awards presentation ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, October 24, where the winners of the National Training Awards for Wales will also be recognised. The joint awards which will be attended by around 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Sponsor of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and media partner is Media Wales.

Owen, a finalist in the Traineeships Learner of the Year category, signed up with ACT Training in Cardiff in November 2011. “I’d been working in catering, but I didn’t enjoy the work and wanted to do something different,” he said.

He was interested in working in retail but he needed more qualifications and experience. With ACT he worked to improve his numeracy, ICT and communication skills.

But he also recognised that if he wanted to work in a customer-facing role he had to improve his confidence and tackle his Dyspraxia, which causes some problems with co-ordination and spatial awareness.

“The course has helped me to improve my skills and boost my confidence,” said Owen. “ACT Training organised a work placement for me at a small RSPCA shop and I really enjoyed working with the staff and customers.”

He is now undertaking a Traineeship Level 1 programme one day a week and working on placement with The Vine Trust, which supports young people into the workplace. The trust has organised Owen’s current placement at IKEA in Cardiff, where he is involved in all sorts of work from customer service to working in the car park. He is also working towards a qualification in customer service.

His tutor, Joanne Davies, said: “Owen has overcome many barriers and worked very hard. His confidence has grown and he now has the skills to work well as part of a team.”

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “These awards recognise excellence by individuals, employers and learning providers in delivering training. I am delighted with the standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of the skills being delivered in Wales.

“All the finalists have an inspiring story to tell and are great ambassadors for apprenticeship and other programmes in Wales.

“The skills acquired through programmes, such as Apprenticeships, provide great benefits to individuals and employers, helping make Welsh businesses more competitive.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continuing to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places.”

The NTfW is a network 116 quality assured work based training providers with links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

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