Nov 2016 / News

Apprenticeship Award Cymru 2016 finalist Darren Watts is now sadly out of work since his employers Appletree Nurseries closed last week.

Not only is Darren only 18 years old and unemployed, he also can’t complete his Apprenticeship that he worked so hard to get on to.

It’s now become our mission to find him another employer who will take him under their wing, allowing him to complete his qualification and continue along the childcare career path and reach his full potential.

Darren is an exceptional young man and was a finalist in the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2016 that took place last month. He has so much to offer and would make an excellent addition to any day care nursery.

If you have room for Darren in your team, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.  

Darren’s story:

Darren Watts has turned a natural gift of supporting siblings and younger cousins into a promising career path. In doing so, the 18-year-old has taken the unusual step of moving from a path in the construction industry to childcare, happily breaking the mould in a predominantly female profession.

Darren followed his male peers into successfully completing Engagement Level Traineeship in Construction through provider ACT Training on the Prince’s Trust Team programme.

But with the support of ACT and his mum, he took the brave decision to retrain in childcare where he has excelled, completing Level 1 Traineeship in Childcare while on placement with Appletree Day Nursery, Cardiff and moved onto a Level 2 apprenticeship having been recruited by the nursery.

Commenting on his performance, Darren’s former line manager at Appletree, Laura Edwards, said: “Darren has an excellent manner with the children, the parents love him and he’s flexible and reliable. A male in a nursery setting is unusual but he is a positive role model for the boys.”

The career change has seen Darren, who lives in Butetown, Cardiff, shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1) award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which took place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on 20th October.

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. The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

Darren said: “I would like to thank ACT, my mum and Appletree. My ambition is to qualify in childcare but long term I would love to open my own nursery.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated all award winners and the shortlisted finalists. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”