“Be proud of the work you do, the person you are and the difference you make”
Before the pandemic, Jade was working in two different hospitality roles to support herself and build her employability skills whilst she decided what she wanted to do long-term in her career. Jade had always been very artistic and wanted to utilise her skills, but was undecided whether education, employment or an apprenticeship would be more suited to her circumstances.
During the pandemic, Jade was unfortunately furloughed from her roles, but being determined to see this as an opportunity rather than adversity, Jade started taking online courses to further develop her art and drawing skills. Jade showed incredible commitment and dedication to her ongoing development and decided that she wanted to explore the possibility of becoming a tattoo artist.
Jade took a strategic approach to achieving her goal and signed up for practical courses where she could further improve her artistic skills, particularly in drawing realistic animals, a popular tattoo choice.
Jade also volunteers at the Swansea University Egypt Centre, running educational sessions for visitors and school children which is greatly improving her confidence and transferrable employability skills. Jade is also about to start training to become an Educational Officer for the centre, further demonstrating her commitment to self-development.
With the ongoing support of her Career Coach, Angela, Jade is currently applying for work opportunities to keep her focused and motivated whilst she waits for a suitable Tattoo Artist Apprenticeship to come up in the local area. Jade is the perfect example of how forward planning and exploring your options is the best method to achieving your goals; she shows unrelenting dedication to her craft and long-term ambitions, and her enthusiasm for her passion is both contagious and inspiring.
“I’ve received one to one support with my CV, applications for jobs and job searching. I would have found this difficult to do on my own and it was great to get help to communicate more professionally. Thank you for all of your meaningful support” – Jade
Catrin discovered her passion for hairdressing while volunteering at a local hair salon before enrolling onto a Level 1 Hairdressing course at Gower College Swansea. Due to a disability which affects her hands and joints, Catrin found the practical nature of the course incredibly challenging. Despite the flair and enthusiasm she was showing for her written work, Catrin was disappointed that she was unable to progress further with the course and felt her dream disappear and didn’t know where to turn for support. As a result, Catrin’s Tutor referred her to the Futures team to explore her options.
Through 1-2-1 coaching, Career Coach Lisa got to know Catrin and it became clear she had an aptitude for working with young children; Catrin had a young nephew whom she adored and regularly looked after. Lisa suggested that Catrin look into childcare career options; after feeling excited about this potential new career path and desperate to keep progressing on her learning journey, Catrin successfully applied for a Level 1 childcare course.
“My Career Coach Lisa was supportive with my career and has helped me a lot to decide what path is right for me. I now understand that hairdressing wasn’t the right career and I was encouraged to do childcare because I’m brilliant with my nephew and I love playing with children. Thank you so much Lisa for supporting me. You inspired me to do an apprenticeship and now it has come true for me. Thanks for helping me to work towards my dreams and goals, and I was so thrilled to become Childcare Apprentice of the Year” – Catrin
Catrin’s hard work, resilience and positive attitude shone through from the minute she started her course; she maintained excellent attendance, completed all her work on time and to a high standard, and was always willing to support her peers. Catrin’s incredible efforts did not go unnoticed, and she was nominated for Gower College Swansea Student of the year.
As Catrin approached the end of her first year, she wanted to keep learning but gain more hands-on experience and move into an apprenticeship rather than full-time education. Taking control of her future and making positive changes that suited her needs, Catrin applied for an apprenticeship with Noah’s Ark Nursery and was absolutely delighted when she was offered the position.
Catrin is thriving in her new role and making amazing progress towards her Level 2 in Children’s Care, Play, and Learning & Development. Catrin’s ability to overcome her physical barriers with enthusiasm and positivity was recognised when she was recently awarded the Gower College Swansea Childcare Apprentice of the Year 2022.
“Catrin is amazing with the children. She works so hard to entertain them and is always willing to help staff in day-to-day tasks. We love working with her and we are so proud of what she has achieved” – Noah’s Ark Nursery
Catrin is an inspiration, proving that everyone can achieve their goals, regardless of challenges or adversity. Her inspirational attitude to learning has had a positively profound impact on herself, her peers, her tutors and her family, and we couldn’t be more proud.
Andrew, aged 53, has a vast history of work experience in a variety of roles as well as experience of managing his own business.
Andrew worked for Ford Motor Company for several years as well as a role in Logistics, before deciding to start his own business, D Car Deals Brokerage. Andrew’s business involved selling vehicles through 27 UK based dealerships, managing all aspects of the transaction process.
Alongside his business, Andrew was also a self- employed photographer with an impressive client base ranging from the BBC, Daily Mail and The Guardian to WRU and the Welsh Government. Deciding to stick with his passion, Andrew took the decision to focus on his photography, which led to him working on assignments across the globe for worldwide magazines and newspapers.
In a devastating turn of events, Andrew suffered a stroke in 2013 which left him unable to stand or walk and with difficulties speaking. This hindered Andrew’s independence and ability to run his business which he had worked so hard to build, but instead of accepting defeat, Andrew decided to use his experience to his advantage.
“This life changing event has made me an advocate for people with disabilities. It is important to me that everyone gets the same opportunities in life to thrive and be the best versions on themselves” – Andrew
Andrew became a Big Ideas Wales role model, engaging with young people to inspire entrepreneurship and mentorship as well as working as a Consultant for Swansea University, finding ways to share his wealth of knowledge and expertise to help projects and local communities to have a positive impact on wellbeing.
Andrew is now looking for permanent employment where he can work with those who are able to facilitate positive changes, including employers who can enable those with disabilities to feel comfortable in applying for roles and putting adjustments in place for those that need them.
Andrew is an inspiration to all, and we look forward to supporting him on his career journey and to achieving his goal of changing the world for the better, one person at a time.
To be confirmed