One of the first students to take part in a sector-leading programme designed by Cardiff and Vale College (@CAVC) to prevent young people dropping out of education has just started studying for a degree.
Ray Weston was one of the first cohort to join CAVC’s Junior Apprenticeship programme in 2016. A partnership between the College, Cardiff Council, local schools and Welsh Government, the programme aims to offer innovative full-time vocational career route for 14 to 16-year-olds.
Feeling that school wasn’t really for him, Ray decided to take the opportunity to make a fresh start at CAVC. He joined the Creative Media pathway, taking a BTEC Level 2 in Creative Media alongside GCSEs in Maths, Numeracy and English Language.
Having successfully completed his two-year Junior Apprenticeship with a Merit and a B in GCSE English, Ray was able to progress to Level 3 BTEC Interactive Media course at post-16 level. He really enjoyed the course, especially getting involved with animation.
Ray’s success continued, and he successfully completed the Level 3 course with an overall Merit. This enabled him to go on to his next field of study – a Foundation Degree in Film at Cardiff and Vale College, which is run in partnership with the University of South Wales (USW).
“The Junior Apprenticeship programme gave me a really good head start,” Ray said. “I wouldn’t be doing the course I am doing now if it wasn’t for the Junior Apprenticeship programme
“School wasn’t the right place for me and I’m really glad I joined the JAs when I did. I am really enjoying my Foundation Degree studies and I intend to top up to a full degree at USW in two years.
“I eventually would like to go into a career in film or TV production.”
Ray’s mum, Andrea Weston, said: “I’m so grateful that the Junior Apprenticeship programme was running. If Ray had stayed at school, he certainly wouldn’t have come this far.
“I would to thank all of the staff for all they have done for Ray.”
Cardiff and Vale College Deputy Principal Sharon James said: “We are all so proud of what Ray has achieved and we know he is destined for success. It’s students like Ray that led us to set up the Junior Apprenticeship programme – school is not for everyone, but in right environment they can and will shine.
“Congratulations Ray, and well done to all the staff across the College who have supported him and helped him to get to this level.”