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Two young men supported by Itec as they make their way in the world of work have been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Sion Hampson, aged 24, from Dinas Powys and Dewi Evans, aged 18, from Tonyrefail, will join other finalists at a major presentation in the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport at the end of October to see who will be crowned the ‘best of the best’ for 2014.

This year’s shortlist was announced by the Awards’ joint organisers, the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). The winners will be revealed in front of a big audience comprising key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Last year, Dominic Evans, who, with Itec’s support and training, secured a position as trainee chef at the Celtic Manor, was named overall Traineeship Learner of the Year in the Engagement category. Sion is up against two other trainees for the title of Jobs Growth Wales – Outstanding Achiever 2014.

Sion is a cycle service officer with Pedal Power in Cardiff, the charity that encourages and enables children and adults of all abilities to experience the benefits of cycling, with 200 bicycles for hire to the public. Studying for his NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service, Sion manages his own section in the workshop where staff and volunteers maintain and refurbish bikes for hire and sale, bringing in valuable income.

Sion, who has suffered with autism and dyslexia, said “I was stunned and delighted to learn that I had been shortlisted. The Jobs Growth Wales scheme opened the door for me. This job has transformed my personal outlook and future work progression prospects.”

Pedal Power Director Sybil Williams MBE, said “Sion has excelled within the team and has proven to be indispensable in the day-to-day running of the bicycle section. We wish him every success at the Awards.”

Dewi is a finalist in the Traineeship – Learner of the Year category. He joined Itec on a unique engagement pilot project for ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) learners in October 2013 with no formal qualifications. He attended a plumbing course and now has a cleaning job at South Wales Fire & Rescue Service HQ in Llantrisant.

Dewi said “I was very pleased to have my name put forward for the Apprentice Awards because I have worked hard and this shows people have noticed. I tell other people my age to have a go because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Thank you to all the people who have helped me. I am getting better at everything.”

Ian Evans, manager at Itec’s Llwynypia centre, said “We nominated Dewi because he has overcome a number of barriers in his life through his determination and dedication to succeed. Dewi is a now a real role model for other young people who suffer with ASD.”

Itec Joint Managing Director Ceri Murphy said “We are all delighted with the news. To reach the shortlist from among the hundreds of nominations from throughout Wales is a major achievement. We will be cheering them on at the finals!”

The then Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, said “We’ve seen an unprecedented level of interest in the awards this year which is testament to the high regard in which apprenticeships are held. Equally important, of course, are the training providers and employers who have gone the extra mile to support their apprentices.”

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