As we enter Apprenticeship Week, Duncan Kinnaird and Nathan Kelly, two apprentices studying at Cardiff and Vale College, have been named as being the best at their trade in the country.
Electrical Installation apprentice Duncan won the Welsh heat of Sparks Learner of the Year, while Nathan, a Heating and Ventilation apprentice, won the Welsh round of HIP Plumbing Learner of the Year. Both won cash and work kit to help them in their future careers and will now go on to compete in the UK-wide national finals later this year.
“It feels good to have won,” Duncan, who is 20 and from Cardiff, said. “I am very happy with the work I produced and I feel as though I gained some great time management skills by competing.
“I was a bit nervous at the start, but after the first hour it felt like a normal day.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the other contestants in the final and hope I can do well in that, too. However, it will be difficult keeping my nerves down while competing against other very good apprentices.”
Nathan, 23 and from Cardiff, said: “It feels really good and I feel quite honoured to have won this award. Taking part was a good experience – I felt a lot of pressure as you and your skills are exposed to the trade.
“I’m looking forward to the finals. I just hope I can do as well in that one also.”
Nathan is employed by CMB Engineering and is enjoying his apprenticeship.
“I’m very much enjoying my apprenticeship,” he said. “It’s my second time around at the College doing a different course so that shows how much I appreciate it.
“I enjoy the constant learning and development.”
Employed by Amberwell, Duncan also appreciates his CAVC apprenticeship.
“I’m really enjoying my time at CAVC,” Duncan said. “I enjoy learning about the theory and internal aspects of my work. The people I work with are very helpful and supportive.
“My favourite thing about doing an Electrical Installation apprenticeship is all the people you meet in and out of work and how they help you develop further in life and achieve goals later on. They will also be life-long friends.”
Both Duncan and Nathan believe taking part in skills competitions such as HIP and Sparks Learner of the Year have been a valuable addition to their learner journey at CAVC.
“I definitely think taking part in these competitions will help me develop my skills, especially my time management,” Duncan said. “It will enable me to work to a strict time space as well as keeping the work at great quality.
“From this, I have also learnt that the quality of work produced is more important than the amount produced. This will help me toward my AM2 when I’m ready to complete it.”
“More people should try to take part in these competitions as it helps you work under pressure and gets you recognised within the industry,” Nathan added.
Once he’s completed his apprenticeship, Duncan hopes to one day move to Australia and set up his own business there.
“CAVC has really helped me achieve my goals,” he said. “The teachers – especially Geoff Shaw – have really helped me; they always answer any questions I may have as well as congratulating me on any of my achievements.
“I would also like to thank Amberwell for taking me on as an apprentice and teaching me something new every day that I can take into my future life.”
Nathan eventually hopes get into management and maybe progress on to a Level 4 apprenticeship.
“There’s plenty of opportunities for people at CAVC for everyone to get where they want to be,” he said.
Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James said: “Congratulations to Duncan and Nathan – we’re all very proud of you!
“To win the Welsh heats of the prestigious HIP and Sparks Learner of the Year competitions is a real achievement and we wish them good luck finals. Well done Duncan and Nathan, and well done to the Building Services Department’s tutors for supporting them to reach such high standards.”