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Ross Vincent is on course for a career in the building trade thanks to a Traineeship which sparked his interest in bricklaying.

Ross, 18, who lives in Pembroke Dock, has gone from his Traineeship to secure an apprenticeship with Evan Pritchard Contractors in Haverfordwest, where his father, Carl, is a site manager.

After completing Engagement and Level 1 Traineeships in Brickwork, he is now working towards a Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying as well as a Foundation Apprenticeship in Groundworks, all at Pembrokeshire College.

Now Ross has been shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.

This annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.

Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Having failed to complete a previous course at the college, Ross said the Traineeships better suited him because there was more hands on, practical work, allowing him to learn from industry professionals.

“The Traineeships in Brickwork allowed me to grow up, learn new practical and theoretical skills as well as gain more confidence,” he said. “Through the employability sessions, I realised how important it is to get a job and work hard in life to get the things you want.

“I really wanted to succeed, after having made a mistake the year before and, with hard work and the right support from my tutors, I was able to do this. I have now got a job doing something I enjoy.

“I have Marc Slaney as a mentor on site who has been a bricklayer for 40 years and is teaching me everything he knows.”

His focus on learning a trade transformed Ross’ attitude to college. Apart from attending college and fully engaging with online learning sessions during the pandemic lockdown, he also encouraged fellow learners to make the most of the situation.

On completion of his Traineeship Programmes, Ross undertook a month’s trial with Evan Pritchard which led to him being employed.

Tom Powell, employability lecturer at Pembrokeshire College, said the Traineeships had matured Ross, giving him more confidence to work hard to achieve his goals.

“Ross has managed to turn himself around, after his first attempt at college didn’t go very well,” he added. “He’s a shining example of how successful allowing learners a fresh start when they make a mistake can be.”

Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “Our Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes are helping people fulfil their career ambitions and I’m delighted we have already reached our target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this Senedd term. 

“This has been key in helping apprentices of all ages to gain important skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need. This will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of all involved, from star apprentices to skilled learning providers.

“I’d like to congratulate all the finalists announced for this year’s event and wish each and every one all the best for the future.”

Picture caption:

Ross Vincent – focused on a career in the building trade.

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