Teenager overcomes barriers to be shortlisted for national learner of the year award
A Tonyrefail teenager with learning disabilities, who has secured a part-time job that he loves, based at South Wales Fire and Rescue service’s headquarters in Llantrisant, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national apprenticeship award.
Dewi Evans, 18, 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.
Prospects were not looking good for Dewi when he left school without qualifications and, being dyslexic, he had struggled with reading and writing.
But thanks to a dedicated programme for learners with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Dewi improved his communication skills. During the Traineeship Engagement programme delivered by Itec Training Solutions, he demonstrated tremendous commitment and achieved a City and Guilds qualification in communication.
Following a volunteer placement, he now has a part-time job at the fire service headquarters, working as a cleaner for Clearview Cleaning. He is passionate about the service and is thrilled to be playing an active role in society.
“I am really pleased to be working and I am grateful to Itec for their help,” said Dewi. “I always say you should have a go because there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. I am getting better at everything.”
Joel Williams, development director at ITEC, said: “We are really proud of Dewi who has surpassed all our expectations. He has overcome many barriers through his determination to succeed and is a great role model for others with ASD. He has been invited to go back to his old school to share his experience about how work based learning has improved his life chances.”
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.
“The dedication that Dewi has shown to improve his prospects is really inspirational. His example proves that a traineeship is an excellent route to an apprenticeship. I’m so pleased that he has now been given the opportunity to continue to develop his skills and knowledge.
“I’d like to wish him the very best of luck at the awards ceremony.”
More than 400 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 Culinary Team Wales.
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