After a year working with Cardiff-based training provider ACT Limited, Cory Rowlands knows where his future lies with Cardiff Bed Store.
The 18-year-old from Barry was given work experience with the company and that has progressed into a full times sales position with the family-run business. Now he is in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
Cory is one of three finalists shortlisted in the Traineeship Level One Learner of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Personal issues meant that Cory left school with few qualifications but he blossomed during his time with ACT Limited, completing a Customer Service Traineeship Level one alongside other Essential Skills qualifications.
ACT Limited recognised his great communication and interpersonal skills but had to work hard to develop his Application of Number skills, an essential part of working within retail.
Cory has always gone the extra mile; he has waxed his legs for charity, attended ACT Employ Me Days and volunteered to work at Skills Cymru 2014 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
It was this positive attitude that led Cardiff Bed Store owner Dennis Maunder to give Cory a full time position. “Cory is a great lad, hardworking, punctual, reliable and polite and can confidently sell all of our products,” he said.
“It can be a risk taking on somebody so young with little experience but he is doing a fantastic job.”
Cory said: “I have progressed so much with the help of ACT Limited. Now I am determined to show my employer that they made the right choice.”
ACT Limited’s marketing manager Jayne McGill-Harris said: “It is so refreshing to come across a young person who has found their true calling in life.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Cory and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional learners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”