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Cameron Thomas is literally climbing his way to the top. The 17-year-old has discovered his vocation at indoor climbing and activity centre Boulders and is determined to leave behind his troubled teenage years.

Cameron started on a Traineeship Engagement programme in our Cardiff centre before progressing to a Level 1 qualification in Customer Service. His placement at Boulders has led to additional paid work at weekends and the opportunity to take the first steps on the road to becoming a qualified climbing instructor.

Cameron has now been shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) 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.

It is a far cry from Cameron’s early school years having been excluded from school at the age of 11, attending alternative education centres until the age of 13 and finding himself in problematic situations.

“I made mistakes but I love climbing and really enjoy working at the centre,” he said. “I’ve been given a chance to turn my life round and hopefully I can do what I love for a living.”

Itec tutor Gareth Speers said: “Cameron’s change of attitude towards learning and employment has been remarkable. He has discovered a passion for climbing, is working hard, and is now not simply in a job, but on a great career path.”

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