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College staff, student and manager at Croeso Lounge, Mumble. Matthew Jones (Assistant Learning Area Manager), Angela Smith (ILS Tutor/Assessor), Ethan Scott, Dan Kristof (Manager, Croeso Lounge), Head Chef, Ryan Bath (ILS job coach).

Partnership success for Independent Living Skills and Apprenticeships

The Independent Living Skills (ILS) and Gower College Swansea (GCS) Training departments celebrate the fruits of their new joint first initiative which has enabled two students with additional learning needs to transition from a one-year work internship programme into supported, paid apprenticeships with local employers this April. 

Working in collaboration with The Ware-House Gym in Cwmdu and Croseso Lounge in Mumbles, Easter arrived early for hardworking students Callum East and Ethan Scott when work mentors, Hayley Harries and Dan Kristof said they wanted to employ them on a long-term basis. 

Head of the ILS transition into work internship programme and Learning Area Manager, Simon Pardoe, reached out to the Director of Work Based Learning, Rachel Searle, earlier this year to explore supported, paid employment opportunities for students with a learning disability. Thanks to the new apprenticeship pathway programme, it may now be possible for more ILS students to ‘earn while they learn’ toward a valuable, industry recognised qualification, to support lifelong careers.  

Rachel Searle said “we recognise that ILS students often face greater challenges accessing sustained employment and careers, so the ILS apprenticeship transition programme is vital to allow more students to enter the world of work and achieve their full potential for lifelong careers. I wish Callum, Ethan and their employers every success in their apprenticeship journeys. It’s fantastic to see the impact they have already made with their employers.” 

Simon Pardoe added “linking up with Rachel and the work-based learning team could be life-changing for some of our students who are able to access the apprenticeship scheme. We could potentially see more students than ever before transitioning not only from ILS to internships, which is a great achievement in itself, but also from ILS into paid employment, which is the ultimate aim for any college student.”

Hayley Harries, manager at the Ware-House Gym spoke highly about Callum, saying “he always works so hard, he’s reliable and willing and he gets on well with the team. I wish I could clone him and have ten Callums!” 

Dan Kristof, manager at Croeso Lounge, remarked “Ethan has grown so much in confidence since he started with us, and his work ethic is excellent. We can teach people how to do the job but if they don’t have a good work ethic, well we can’t teach that. Ethan thoroughly deserves his new job.”

With both students starting their apprenticeships this April, Callum is working toward a Level 2 City and Guilds Diploma in Customer Service, and Ethan a Level 2 Front of House with Cambrian Training, whilst being paid by their respective employers.  

For more information about how Gower College Swansea can support students who have a learning disability to get into work and employers develop work internship placements, please contact tutor/assessor Angela Smith in the Independent Living Skills department at 

Main photo L to R: Matthew Jones (Assistant Learning Area Manager), Angela Smith (ILS Tutor/Assessor), Ethan Scott, Dan Kristof (Manager, Croeso Lounge), Head Chef, Ryan Bath (ILS job coach). 

Second photo L to R: Simon Pardoe (Learning Area Manager), Ryan Bath (ILS job coach), Callum East, Emma Long (Callum’s Mum), Angela Smith (ILS Tutor/Assessor), Hayley Harries (Manager, Ware-House Gym), Rachel Jones (Customer Service Tutor/Assessor)