With thousands of teenagers across Wales anxiously awaiting their GCSE and A-Level results this month, care worker Callum Fennell has highlighted the benefits of an apprenticeship to school leavers.
Callum, 18, is reaping the rewards of choosing an apprenticeship to develop a rewarding career after feeling disengaged at school.
He joined Bethany Residential Care Home in Chepstow at the age of 16 and has transformed his confidence, skills and career prospects by taking a Foundation Apprenticeship in Health & Social Care, delivered by work-based learning provider ACT.
His apprenticeship has allowed Callum to earn while he learns and gains the practical experience that many employers in Wales prioritise.
Apprenticeships are open to everyone over the age of 16, of all abilities, and support is tailored for each apprentice. Jobs are available in 23 sectors, ranging from a builder, hairdresser, chef and dental assistant to an engineer, cyber security analyst, bank teller and gas main fitter.
Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner, from a Foundation Apprenticeship, which is equivalent to five GCSE passes, to a Degree Apprenticeship, which is equivalent to a full bachelor’s degree. Apprentices can learn bilingually or through the medium of Welsh.
School leavers can now make the most of the Young Person’s Guarantee, a Welsh Government pledge to ensure everyone under the age of 25 has the offer of support to gain a place in education or training, find a job or become self-employed.
They can speak to Working Wales, which offers free, impartial career advice and can help them navigate their options. Visit workingwales.gov.wales/start-your-story or call 0800 028 4844 for more information.
Callum is showing what can be achieved by opting for an apprenticeship. His employer is encouraging him to progress to a Level 3 Apprenticeship when he completes his current qualification and Callum is keen to carry on working in the care sector.
“I love making a difference to the lives of the people I support, and I feel I have developed as a person since starting my apprenticeship,” he said. “My employer has given me the opportunity to grow within my role.
“My goal is to eventually become a medicator, which will enable me to administer medication, lead a team, deal with emergencies and liaise with outside professionals. By working hard, I am confident that I will achieve this career goal.”
Emma Jones, Callum’s assessor from ACT, said: “Callum has progressed so much in terms of confidence and skills since he began his apprenticeship as a shy 16-year-old. The residents love him and his employer’s very supportive, ‘can do’ attitude has made him thrive.
Emily Jarvis, deputy manager of Bethany Residential Care Home, said: “Callum is the first school leaver apprentice we have employed, but it’s definitely something we would do again.
“He’s doing really well, always happy and bubbly and very much a member of the team. I think apprenticeships in the health and social care sector are so beneficial because they provide actual career experience in the workplace, as compared to studying in the classroom.”