A Pontypridd teenager has been appointed as the UK’s first ever full-time learner representative in Work-Based Learning.
Chris Harris will provide First Minister Carwyn Jones with regular updates on learner issues after Wales’ largest training provider ACT Training appointed Chris to be the voice of its learners.
Chris, aged 19 and from Beddau near Pontypridd, sits on ACT’s Governance board and works closely with students at ACT learning centres in Cardiff, Caerphilly, Bridgend and Wrexham. He also regularly liaises with ACT’s 17 sub-contractors and the National Union of Students Wales (NUS Wales).
ACT is the first Welsh training provider to work with NUS Wales in this capacity, having created the position to bridge the gap between learners and managers, and ensure all students are satisfied with and happy in their learning environment.
This full-time role will help ACT continually improve the services it provides, and also contribute towards a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Customer Service for Chris.
Chris said: “After I finished college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I’ve had retail experience in the past and I really enjoy working with people and solving their problems.
“I saw this job on the Careers Wales website and learning whilst I earned was a really attractive aspect for me. As this role has never existed before I am looking forward to making it my own and working directly with the members of staff and learners at ACT to improve communication and organisation.”
Chris continued: “I have been in the job for around five months now and I am thoroughly enjoying it – I have been organising forums and focus groups, and the feedback has been brilliant.
“I am looking forward to working towards my qualifications and to developing further in my role as a learner representative with ACT.”
NUS Wales is the largest democratic organisation in Wales, representing over a quarter of a million students from both the Higher and Further Education sectors.
Beth Button, NUS Wales Deputy President, said “We are very pleased that Wales is leading the way in the representation of those in Work-Based Learning.
“Learner representation brings huge benefits to both learners and the training provider. It’s great to see how enthusiastic Chris is and we’re looking forward to working with him closely over the coming year.”
Since setting up in 1988, ACT has become Wales’ largest provider of training and apprenticeships. With five training centres across Wales, it offers work-based training to over 9000 people every year. It is one of the most innovative and professional training providers in Wales, making it a first choice partner.
Andrew Cooksley, managing director of ACT Training, said: “We are delighted that Chris has been appointed in this brand new role.
“We wanted to provide a communication channel for the learners so that they are able to voice their opinions comfortably as we recognised that some learners may feel uncomfortable talking to tutors.
“Chris is extremely approachable and has excellent customer service skills that will only develop in this exciting new role.”