Inspirational learner Andrew shortlisted for national award
A young North Wales man with learning difficulties who has been described as an inspiration to other learners has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Andrew Lloyd, 19, from Conwy, is a finalist in the Traineeships Learner of the Year (Engagement) category at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014. He will join 35 other finalists in 13 categories at 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.
Andrew has found a job and a new hobby thanks to work-based learning. He went to learning provider A4E with little direction or focus except knowing that he wanted to work outdoors.
As part of his traineeship, a work placement was secured at Conwy Water Gardens, where his employer found him to be such an asset that they have offered him a permanent position.
Living with ADHD and dyslexia meant that Andrew had lacked motivation and confidence and also struggled with large groups of people. Since starting customer services and communications programmes at A4E, course leaders have seen him grow in confidence and become a popular member of his group.
He’s passionate about his work and has developed a great interest in tropical fish, even starting his own collection. “I didn’t have much idea of what I wanted to do, but I’m now really happy and proud of the work I have done,” he said. “I really enjoy my job at Conwy Water Gardens.”
Carl Thompson, from A4E Wales, said: “Andrew is a hard worker and inspiring to other learners. He’s a great role model and deserves recognition.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “Vocational training provides learners with the skills, qualifications and experience they need whilst helping our businesses to grow. These awards are a chance for us to recognise the wealth of talent we have in Wales.
“Andrew’s story really is inspiring. It demonstrates how, when given the right opportunity and support, an individual’s skills and confidence can be boosted, even in challenging circumstances. Andrew is a great ambassador for young people achieving through work-based learning across Wales.
“Employers like Conwy Water Gardens, that are committed to developing their workforce through work-based learning programmes, are benefitting from highly skilled, motivated employees. Meanwhile, individuals like Andrew are gaining highly-regarded qualifications and valuable experience of the demands of the workplace.
“I’d like to wish Andrew all the best for the awards and for a successful 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.