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30 June 2017

First cohort of Junior Apprentices celebrate graduation at Cardiff and Vale College

The first cohort of 14 to 16-year-olds who have been given the opportunity to transform their lives through a unique 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.

This week’s Graduation and Awards Ceremony saw the first cohort of Year 11 learners receive their graduation certificates.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Kay Martin said: “It’s been an honour to stand on stage and celebrate the 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 accomplished.”

CAVC Vince Principal Sharon James added: “The Junior Apprentices have not only achieved their vocational qualifications but they have all successfully completed interviews and are all progressing on to apprenticeships or full-time courses. The way they have grown and developed over the months, showing improvements in attendance, skills, maturity and attitude, has been astounding and it has made me extremely proud of them all.”

The graduation also featured an awards ceremony. Fifteen-year-old Construction student Taylor Burford from Barry won the award for Most Improved Junior Apprentice while Hair and Beauty learner Jade Cross, 15 and from Cardiff, won the award for Junior Apprentice of the Year.

“I’m chuffed to win this award,” Jade said. “I’ve come a long way after a rough start – a really rough start. I’ve enjoyed this evening as well.

“The Junior Apprenticeship is really good and it will help me with my career. It’s good because I did not get on with school.”

Hair and Beauty Junior Apprentices Katie Warner and Shauna Williams and Digital Media Junior Apprentice Rachael Weston were awarded for Outstanding Achievement in a Vocational Pathway. Katie and Shauna successfully completed their two-year programme in one year, while the quality of Rachael’s work has amazed her tutors.

Jointly funded by CAVC, City of Cardiff Council, Welsh Government and Cardiff schools, the Junior Apprentice programme is designed to increase the number of people in the region in education, employment and training. It offers young people the opportunity for young people 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.

Launched in September 2016 and currently the only scheme of its kind in Wales, the programme has been a resounding success. Of the Cardiff learners who were originally red tagged on the Vulnerability Assessment Profile, 75% are now amber or green and the Year 11 apprentices are now progressing on to post-16 College courses and apprenticeships.

The College is now recruiting for next year’s cohort of Junior Apprentices, and is holding a special information event with Colegau Cymru and the Welsh Government for Welsh schools and colleges next week. The Welsh Government is looking to roll out the Junior Apprenticeship programme out across the country.