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Award finalist Joel connects to a rewarding career with Openreach

Joel Mallison, connected to rewarding career.

Apprentice and musician Joel Mallison has struck the right note with a career change, excelling as an apprentice with telecommunications company Openreach.

After initially studying music and graduating with a distinction in Radio Production, Joel, 30, from Abergavenny, ended up working in his father’s painting and decorating business for six years before seeking a new career.

An interest in telecommunications led him to Openreach where he completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in IT Software Web and Telecoms Professionals last September. The apprenticeship was delivered by Openreach and supported by ALS Training, Cardiff.

Now Joel has been shortlisted for the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award at the 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.

Joel is now accelerating in his career, working to a high standard and demonstrating a huge appetite to learn new skills, meaning he is able to fix complex faults whilst also coaching new recruits at Openreach. His ambition is to become a senior engineer, just like his mentor at the company.

“One of the main appeals of the Apprenticeship Programme offered by Openreach was the opportunity to work in a career which could offer me real job satisfaction and security,” said Joel, who is the lead singer and guitarist in a band outside working hours.

“I feel that telecommunications is really important for the future and that’s something we have seen throughout the Covid pandemic. Through the Apprenticeship Programme, I have been able to launch my career and at the same time support the careers of others through coaching.”

One of the jobs that has given Joel the most satisfaction to date was working for 10 hours, using all the skills he has learnt as an apprentice, to fix a damaged fibre cabinet to restore broadband to more than 100 customers, many of whom were key workers.

Openreach Abergavenny patch manager, Matthew James said: “Joel’s work ethic is very strong and he is constantly looking for ways to improve his knowledge and skillset by being inquisitive and always showing initiative. He sets the bar extremely high in terms of my expectations for my engineers.”

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.”