Social worker Callum highlights benefits of learning for school leavers – FE News

As thousands of teenagers across Wales anxiously await their GCSE and A-Level results this month, social worker Callum Fennell has highlighted the benefits of an apprenticeship for school leavers.

Callum, 18, is reaping the rewards of choosing an apprenticeship to develop a rewarding career after feeling disengaged at school.

He joined Bethany Residential Care Home in Chepstow at the age of 16 and transformed his confidence, skills and career prospects by taking a basic health and social care apprenticeship, delivered by the learning provider in ACT workplace.

His apprenticeship has allowed Callum to earn money while learning and gaining the practical experience that many employers in Wales value.

The apprenticeship is open to anyone over the age of 16, of all levels, and the support is adapted to each apprentice. Jobs are available in 23 sectors, ranging from a builder, hairdresser, chef and dental assistant to an engineer, cybersecurity analyst, bank teller and gas line fitter.

Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner, from a foundation apprenticeship, which is equivalent to five GCSE passes, to a diploma apprenticeship, which is equivalent to a full bachelor’s degree. Apprentices can learn bilingually or through Welsh.

School leavers can now make the most of the Youth Guarantee, a commitment by the Welsh Government to ensure that anyone under the age of 25 has an offer of help to secure a place in the education or training, finding a job or becoming self-employed.

They can speak to Working Wales, which offers free, unbiased career advice and can help them navigate their options. Visit or call 0800 028 4844 for more information.

Callum shows what can be achieved by opting for an apprenticeship. His employer encourages him to upgrade to a Level 3 apprenticeship when he completes his current qualification and Callum wants to continue working in the care sector.

“I love making a difference in the lives of the people I help and I feel like I’ve grown as a person since I started learning,” he said. “My employer gave me the opportunity to grow in my role.

“My goal is to eventually become a medical doctor, which will allow me to administer medication, lead a team, deal with emergencies and liaise with outside professionals. By working hard, I am confident that I will achieve this career goal.

Emma Jones, Callum’s assessor at ACT, said: “Callum has come so far in terms of confidence and skills since he started his apprenticeship at the shy age of 16. Residents love him and his employer’s positive, positive attitude has made him thrive.

Emily Jarvis, Assistant Manager of Bethany Residential Care Home, said: ‘Callum is the first out-of-school apprentice we’ve taken on, but it’s definitely something we would do again.

“He is doing great, always happy and bubbly and very much a member of the team. I think health and social care apprenticeships are very beneficial as they provide real career experience in the workplace, compared to classroom studies.

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