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Apprentice returns to roots

Local apprentice Luke Goodrich has returned to his roots to inspire students at Pentrehafod Comprehensive.

Luke is part of a team of ‘Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ working with the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills to tour the country encouraging young people to follow the apprenticeship pathway and take up one of a huge variety of roles available across Wales.

The 30-year-old from Swansea, who left full time education at 18 with little or no career aspirations, is now a Resourcing Partner in the HR department at the Department of Transport after undertaking a series of apprenticeships with Gower College Swansea.

Luke visited Pentrehafod to talk to pupils about how pursuing the vocational route has helped him gain the qualifications and skills he needed to set him on a pathway to success.

He told pupils at his former school how he left school at 18 after acquiring Advanced and AS Level qualifications and joined full time employment as a telephone clerk at NTL. He joined the DVLA in 2005 to work in a similar role but, despite holding a line management role for five years, he still didn’t feel that he was progressing up the career ladder or learning any new skills and had no real career direction.

Luke was offered the chance to undertake a Level 5 Apprenticeship in Chartered Management with Gower College Swansea. The course provided him with the opportunity to learn new skills such as project management and stakeholder engagement which he could apply to his day-to-day role and use to develop his management skills.

After finishing the apprenticeship in the summer of 2014, Luke was able to apply for a role as a Resourcing Partner in the HR department of the Department for Transport where he has been able to put everything he learned in his apprenticeship into practice. Since then, he has completed his HR foundation qualification and is now on a pathway to becoming a HR manager.

Luke said “I think it’s really important that young people understand all the different career options available to them when they’re in school. When I left school at 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do or the options that were available to me, especially the variety of apprenticeships on offer. I feel that ever since I undertook my first apprenticeship with the DVLA two years ago, I have established a much clearer career pathway."

“The apprenticeship has helped me to not only develop my vocational skills and qualifications but also my interpersonal skills and I have come on in leaps and bounds at work. I have even undertaken skill gap assessments in order to identify what skills I am lacking and need to address in order to progress to the next level. I feel that the apprenticeship has given me the confidence I needed to set me on the pathway to success. As the father of a eight year old and a home owner, I now feel that I can financially support my family and have a really exciting future ahead of me."

From butchery to baking, engineering to electrical or hospitality to HR there is a huge range of apprenticeship frameworks available for young people across Wales. The Welsh Government’s ‘Apprenticeship Ambassador’ campaign aims to raise awareness of apprenticeships among secondary school pupils, while highlighting the benefits of receiving hands-on practical industry-led experience.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, said: “There is such a huge variety of career pathways available to young people these days, particularly if they follow the vocational route, and it is more important than ever that students are presented with all the accessible options available to them in order to ensure they make informed choices about their future."

"Luke and the other apprenticeship ambassadors are real-life role models for young people across Wales. They are admirable examples of just what can be achieved through a valuable combination of skills, qualifications and training. Following the vocational route of an apprenticeship can also lead to a highly rewarding and successful career.”

Luke added “I really enjoyed meeting the students at Pentrehafod. It’s weird to think that twelve years ago I was standing in their shoes. They have some big decisions ahead about their future over the next year so I hope that my talk has inspired them to look into the variety of apprenticeships available to them and consider following a vocational route.”

Luke was joined by his training provider, Rachel Stevens from Gower College Swansea, who spoke to the pupils about how an apprenticeship scheme works.

The apprenticeship ambassadors are visiting schools in Wrexham, Cardiff, Merthyr, Newbridge, Treorchy, Mold, Carmarthen, Swansea and Welshpool over the next month.

The apprenticeship programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.

For more information about becoming an apprentice, please visit or call 0800 0284844. Also find us on Facebook at and on Twitter @apprenticewales


Notes to editors:

Head of Year 11 at Pentrehafod, Nadine Williams said: “The pupils really enjoyed hearing about Luke’s personal experience of undertaking an apprenticeship, and have gone away realising that they can simultaneously receive hands-on practical experience working in the real world while gaining qualifications and earning money."

“Academia isn’t for everyone and we all have different ways of learning which is why we’re so pleased that Luke and Rachel took time out of their busy schedules to visit us and provide our students with a real-life insight into apprenticeship.”

Thanks to Golley Slater PR for this story and image.