9 February 2024
This National Apprenticeship Week (05 – 11 February), Coleg Gwent is shining a spotlight on two of its 602 apprenticeship learners — showcasing support for an alternative route to higher education across its Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, Newport and Crosskeys campuses.
With more than 400 apprenticeship partners working with Coleg Gwent (including the NHS, Biffa, and Tai Calon Community Housing), and over 14 apprenticeship programmes available; learners can develop skills, gain real-world experiences and work towards a full qualification whilst getting paid.
Matthew Ford, 22, from Monmouth, opted to study on the Motor Vehicle apprenticeship after developing a passion for cars by working on them with his dad from a young age. Matthew said: “I’ve always been more practical than academic — being a visual learner, I needed something I could get my hands on, and learn in real-time.
“I was initially offered the position at Coleg Gwent through work, but now, I couldn’t see being anywhere else. The tutors are amazing, and the course covers a wide range of subjects — including some that you’d never have thought had anything to do with cars!”
Choosing to study at Coleg Gwent after seeing the success rate of other apprenticeships across the college, Teagan Whiteman, 18, has recently joined the Vehicle Refinishing apprenticeship.
Speaking on their experience, Teagan commented: “I have a great love and passion for cars, so when I found out that I can combine my passion with getting qualified, meeting new people, and earning my own money — it was a no brainer.
“Studying an apprenticeship also means that I can avoid the debts associated with university.
“My tutors are ambitious and helpful – they encourage me to always do my best. They even motivated me to re-sit my maths GCSE, giving me the best possible chance of succeeding outside of my apprenticeship.”
Coleg Gwent’s apprenticeships are open to residents of Wales who are 16 or older and are working at least 16 hours per week in an industry sector.
Jon Hayward, Head of Apprenticeships at Coleg Gwent, said: “We understand that classroom-based, full-time learning isn’t for everyone — which is why developing our apprenticeship programme has been so important here at Coleg Gwent.
“We’re able to support students within an environment that works for them, while also bolstering the local workforce through connecting talented learners with their desired industries.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of female apprentices on the programme, which has been fantastic as we pride ourselves on having an apprenticeship programme that encourages everyone to take the next step towards their dream career.”
Whilst on different courses, both Matthew and Tegan share similar advice to those wishing to study an apprenticeship. Teagan said: “I’d encourage anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after leaving school – or even further down the line – to look into the apprenticeships at Coleg Gwent as there’s something for everyone here.”
Matthew continued: “Just go for it. It’ll be the best three years of your life and you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve accomplished something — you’ll have gained skills, friends, and a qualification for life.”
To find out more about the apprenticeship programmes at Coleg Gwent, visit: coleggwent.ac.uk/apprenticeships