Teaching Assistant Paula proves it’s never too late to learn
“It’s never too late to learn,” says Paula Blundell, who works as a teaching assistant and midday superviser at Ysgol Mynydd Isa, near Mold and has been shortlisted for a prestigious Foundation Apprentice of the Year award.
Paula, a 40-year-old mother of one from Bryn-Y-Baal, near Mold, is one of 36 finalists in 13 categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).
The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 18.
The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes across Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.
Paula has completed a Foundation Apprenticeship for Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools through Wrexham IteC and is now working towards an apprenticeship.
“I want to show other people who have a family to look after that it is never too late to learn,” she said. “I never thought I could do it, but I have and I am moving on to a higher level now. It has opened up a whole new world to me and I am doing a job I love. I am looking forward to learning in the future and throughout my career.”
Paula confesses that she never found a job that she truly enjoyed after leaving school with a handful of GCSEs at the age of 16.
Her new career began when she secured a post as midday superviser at her son’s school and started helping out in class. She really enjoyed working with the children and was encouraged to begin a Foundation Apprenticeship.
“Despite not having studied for over 20 years, I thoroughly enjoyed researching and developing my skills and knowledge,” she said. “I love supporting the children and seeing their faces when something clicks for them. It is a great honour to be trusted and I always strive to do my best for them.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru remind us of the incredible wealth of talent that Wales has to offer and the outstanding achievements of Wales’ learners, employers and learning providers.
“Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. Not only do they provide essential skills and qualifications, but are in themselves life-changing opportunities for young people and, for employers, a major investment that’s paying real dividend to their bottom line and in the skills of their workforce.
“We know that apprenticeships deliver real business benefits and that’s why the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund, continues to invest heavily in opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and continues to support employers who want to invest in the future of their workforce.
“Through their passion and dedication, the finalists announced at this year’s awards will inspire countless others to strive for excellence and demonstrate the tremendous impact that vocational training can have. I wish all of our finalists the very best as they continue to make great contributions in their chosen fields.”
The other Foundation Apprentice of the Year finalists are Joshua Jenkins from Connah’s Quay and Ashley Jones from Llanelli.
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.
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.