Outstanding apprentice who helped BT save £6 million wins national award
How many people can say they have helped save their employer £6 million? That’s what outstanding apprentice James Parry did by rearranging work agreements for a team of surveyors to meet a contract deadline, thereby avoiding financial penalties.
The 20-year-old from Pentre, Rhondda Cynon Taff reaped the rewards of his work when he was named Apprentice of the Year at the high profile Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014 ceremony, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday (October 31).
“I am absolutely over the moon and this award means the world to me,” was James’ immediate reaction to winning. “It was such a tough category and in my eyes everybody up there deserved to win it.
“Winning the award is going to give a real boost to my career. As an ambassador for Apprenticeships, I mentor apprentices and this award proves that I can stand there and say I have done it.”
His amazing success has been achieved at a time when his mum has been battling cancer. “Although my personal life is tough, I still go to work with a positive attitude. It has been a bit of rollercoaster journey with my mum’s health, but hopefully this award will bring a little bit of happiness,” added James, whose parents and girlfriend attended the ceremony with him.
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 UK project management role with Broadband Delivery UK, part of the BT Group, James works with senior managers 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.
“Personally, I believe an apprenticeship is the best way to start a career whilst continuing a learning pathway tailored to that job role,” he said “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 400 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales attended the awards ceremony, where guests dined out with chefs from the Culinary Team Wales.