The second cohort of 14 to 16-year-olds who have been given the opportunity to transform their lives through a pioneering vocational career route at Cardiff and vale College have celebrated successfully completing their courses.
CAVC’s Year 11 Junior Apprentices were joined by friends, family and their tutors and treated to a special Graduation and Awards Ceremony at the College’s City Centre Campus. The ceremony saw the Year 11s receive their graduation certificates.
Cardiff and Vale College Principal Kay Martin said:
“It’s been an honour to stand on stage and celebrate he fantastic achievements of our Junior Apprentices – they have all worked so hard this year and come so far. It’s been quite a journey but it has been more than worth it to see what these young people have achieved.”
CAVC Deputy Principal Sharon James added:
“This has been the second year of our Junior Apprenticeship programme. It’s a pioneering project – the first of its kind in Wales but it’s been so successful that other colleges are following suit.
“And it’s been a resounding success! We have 79 learners currently enrolled, 35 of whom are Year 11 learners who will be moving onward and upwards after graduating.”
Eight Junior Apprentices are progressing on to traineeships with ACT, while 17 are progressing on to post-16 courses at CAVC. Two have been taken on to full apprenticeships, one has found employment with DPD and one has been interviewed by Brains. A further seven are currently interviewing for Hospitality, Carpentry and Health and Social Care roles.
The graduation also featured an awards ceremony. Sixteen-year-old Lewis Cook from Cardiff won the Overall Junior Apprentice of the Year Award.
“I’m happy and a bit shocked,” Lewis said. “I didn’t expect to get any award at all.
“The Junior Apprenticeship programme has been amazing – it’s been a wonderful time and much better than high school. It’s helped much more than I expected it to. I’ve had a trial shift in a pub and it’s helped me realise that I want to stick with Catering and Hospitality – that’s the area I want to work in.
“I would totally recommend the Junior Apprenticeship. If you are struggling at school I would say ‘Do it’ because for me it’s worked out and been a better experience than school.”
Minister for Welsh and Lifelong Learning Eluned Morgan said:
“I congratulate all the junior apprentices graduating from the Cardiff and Vale College course, especially Lewis for his Junior Apprentice of the Year award. I also congratulate the college for the success of their pioneering programme. Traditional education is not right for everyone and this scheme provides 14-16 year olds with an alternative to school and ensures they remain in full time education – with great results as this year’s cohort have shown.”
Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: “I am delighted to see the success of the Junior Apprenticeships scheme continuing into its second year.
“It is vital that we provide choice when it comes to learning and development, and since its introduction, the Junior Apprenticeships scheme has been very beneficial for those young people in Cardiff looking at alternative routes into successful, long-term employment.
“We want to ensure that every child and young person in the city has access to training, employment, or further education opportunities. The Junior Apprenticeships Scheme, delivered with our schools, Welsh Government and Cardiff and Vale College, plays an important part in helping us to achieve that.”
Jointly funded by CAVC, Cardiff Council, Welsh Government and Cardiff schools, the Junior Apprenticeship programme is designed to increase the number of people in the region in education, employment or training. It offers young people the opportunity to study full time in a college setting under the guidance of industry qualified teachers in specialist vocational facilities and real work environments while also continuing to sit GCSEs in English and Maths.
In 2017 CAVC won a prestigious UK-wide Association of Colleges Beacon Award for the Junior Apprenticeship programme.