Rhys Lloyd, who suffers with dyslexia, left school early with no qualifications. For several years his attempts to find regular work were held back by his struggles with Mathematics and English.
But a six-month Jobs Growth Wales placement through Cardiff-based learning provider Itec Skills and Employment has given Rhys the chance to turn his life around and he’s now in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
He is one of three finalists shortlisted in the Jobs Growth Wales Learner of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
During his Jobs Growth Wales placement as a production operative with GM Polystyrene, supported by company owner Graham Middleton, Rhys showed determination to make this position work by investing in a car to make the daily journey from his then home in Cardiff to Hengoed.
Having completed the placement, the company offered Rhys a full time position and a Foundation Apprenticeship in Warehousing through the Young Recruits Programme.
Graham said of the 24-year-old: “Rhys is one of the best workers I have employed in 26 years. His ambition and drive is motivational to any young person struggling to access the jobs market. He is a team player always happy to go over and above.”
Rhys continues to receive Mathematics and English tuition and is expanding his skills with the company which is a leading supplier of shaped polystyrene for packaging.
“I am proud of what I have achieved but it is only the beginning,” he said. “I will always be grateful to Graham for this opportunity.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Rhys and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices and learners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”