Callum, 20, from Penygarn, Pontypool, left school with only two GCSEs. When faced with unemployment he volunteered with Torfaen Voluntary Alliance to gain work experience. TVA assists organisations to secure funding, provides advice on charity law and training and promotes volunteering.

After two months he was offered a receptionist opportunity via the Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales programme. In September last year, he accepted a permanent role with a Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Administration and hopes to progress to an apprenticeship later this year.

Now his commitment has been recognised, as he has been shortlisted for the Jobs Growth Wales Outstanding Achiever Award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW), the prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes. The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

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

Now a key TVA team member, Callum’s confidence has soared and he deals with customer enquiries, liaises with volunteers, updates TVA’s databases, produces a monthly newsletter and assists with the ‘Be Independent’ Helpline Service.

Callum is also TVA’s dedicated First Aider, helps outside office hours to set up for events and promote services and is an active member of Torfaen Youth Forum and Pontypool Youth Council.

“I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved, as I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to get a job, having spent so much time unemployed,” said Callum. “I would like to show other young people that there are opportunities out there for everyone.”

Kyle Thomas, TVA’s projects officer, praised Callum’s key contribution and said he “brightens up the place.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated Callum and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists. “We are proud to be delivering a number of successful vocational training programmes with success rates for apprenticeships in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional learners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their learners.”

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