Training helps award finalist Joshua to turn his life round
Joshua O’Leary is a confident and forward looking 19-year-old with a job and career prospects. This is a far cry from the teenager who was bullied at school, struggled with dyslexia and dexterity issues and suffered depression when his best friend committed suicide.
Training has been the key to this radical turnaround. It has given him confidence and self-esteem, in turn helping him meet his own personal goal of losing almost five stones in weight and more recently raising hundreds of pounds through charity runs.
Now Joshua has been recognised as one of Wales’ star learners by being shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. He will be competing to become Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1) at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on October 20.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
Thirty star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of successful skills programmes across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
The awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship programmes.
Through Merthyr Tydfil-based training provider PeoplePlus and a job with Elite Paper Solutions in Pentrebach, Joshua successfully completed a Level 1 Traineeship Programme in January this year, having previously achieved an NVQ Level 1 in Warehousing and Storage at The College Merthyr. He is now progressing to a Foundation Apprenticeship in Warehousing.
PeoplePlus coach Carol Williams said: “Joshua has shown determination and commitment to everything he has undertaken. I am so proud of him.”
Joshua, who lives in Tredegar, said: “PeoplePlus supported me and helped me overcome barriers which hasn’t been easy. But I am proud of myself for coming so far in leaving those days of bullying and low self-esteem behind me.”
Praising the standard of applicants this year and congratulating Joshua on being shortlisted for an award, Skills and Science Minister, Julie James said: “This year’s shortlisted entrants include exceptional individuals who have excelled in their workplace and learning providers and employers that have gone the extra mile to support the apprentices they are working with. Their stories never cease to amaze and inspire.
“Apprenticeships and vocational skills training are essential ingredients of economic success and vital tools in building a stronger, fairer and more equal Wales.
“These awards provide a perfect platform to celebrate success and reward the hard work and dedication of learners, employers and training providers across Wales. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the night.”