Apprenticeship Ambassador Campaign inspires Welsh students

As part of the Welsh government’s plans to promote apprenticeships as an alternative to university, 12 school leavers have been travelling the country telling students about their experiences as an apprentice.

Planning for the future

The Apprenticeship Ambassador Campaign aims to encourage youngsters to undertake an apprenticeship if they are unsure of what to do with their future once they’ve left school.

The programme, which is being funded by the Welsh government and the European Social Fund, aspires to help a number of apprentices within a variety of different sectors.

A number of apprenticeship ‘ambassadors’ have been appointed by the Welsh government to travel around the nation’s schools and to share their life story. The ambassadors have visited major Welsh cities including Wrexham, Merthyr, Treorchy, Swansea, Welshpool and Cardiff.

One of the ambassadors is 21 year-old James Parry, who left school at the age of 18 with no idea about what to do for a career. Since leaving school, Parry gained the chance to work as an apprentice for BT Openreach.

Speaking to Wales Online, Parry opens up about his time as an apprentice.

‘‘It has been a fantastic learning curve for me and completely opened my eyes to the world of work and the opportunities available to me.’’

‘‘I think being able to gain practical, hands-on experience everyday has been a great way to help me develop my skills very quickly and build up my confidence in the workplace,’’ continued Parry.

Not enough opportunity

The programme, which is being funded by the Welsh government and the European Social Fund, aspires to help a number of apprentices within a variety of different sectors.

The programme has been praised by a number of people within the Welsh education sector, including Ian Whittaker, Deputy Head teacher at Willows High school in Cardiff, who wished he had the same opportunities as his students when he was their age.

‘‘I am a big advocate of apprenticeships,’’ he said.

‘‘If I was in [the students’] shoes, at 15, I’d be looking around and thinking, well, what else is there?’’

Julie James, Wales’ deputy minister for skills and technology, believes that the ambassadors could play a major role in encouraging other students to undertake an apprenticeship.

‘‘There is such a huge variety of career pathways available to young people these days, particularly if they follow the vocational route.’’

‘‘The ambassadors are admirable examples of just what can be achieved through a valuable combination of skills, qualifications and training.’’

‘‘Following the vocational route of an apprenticeship can lead to a highly rewarding and successful career.’’