This year’s campaign for Adult Learners’ Week in Wales, which ran from October 17-23, aims to inspire more people to discover a passion for learning and developing their skills.
People just like Lucy Williams, 40, from Treharris, who has been transformed from an unemployed factory worker with no qualifications to a care manager in the space of 14 years, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme.
Adult Learners’ Week will signpost hundreds of free online and in-person courses, tasters, events, open days and learning resources that are free and accessible for everyone.
Adults will be offered a chance to discover their passion for learning, brush up on their skills, improve their health and wellbeing, progress their career, or seek specialised advice and guidance to take a second chance and change their story.
Apprenticeships offer the perfect combination of earning and learning, allowing apprentices to continue their education and gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst working alongside experienced staff.
They are open to everyone over the age of 16, of all abilities, and support is tailored for each apprentice. Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner in 23 sectors.
Lucy discovered her passion for learning and developing her skills as an adult. She is now working towards Higher Apprenticeships in Preparing for Leadership and Management (Level 4) and Health and Social Care Management (Level 5).
She has found her true vocation in life thanks to the support and guidance of training provider Educ8 Training. Due to her passion for learning, Lucy has climbed through the ranks to secure her dream job as vocational service manager for Values in Care, having started in the sector at the age of 26 on a Foundation Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care.
“I was always interested in working with people with learning disabilities but I avoided that route because I thought that you had to be qualified.”
“As school never really interested me, I left with no GCSEs and went straight into working in a factory.”
“When I started my NVQ, it just felt natural because I was learning something that I was passionate about. Clearly, it was meant for me as I wouldn’t still be here now.”
“Apprenticeships have helped me progress my career, as all the knowledge and skills I have picked up through studying have got me to where I want to be within the company. There is always time to learn, no matter how old you are.”
Sandy Hale, an Educ8 Training’s assessor, describes Lucy as “a people person who has empathy and good communication skills”.
“In the care sector, a lot of managers have come up through the ranks and they often find the academic requirements of a Higher Apprenticeship quite difficult,” she said. “Now that Lucy has been promoted and is forming new teams, she understands the relevance and importance of extending her knowledge and how it is going to aid her work.”
More than 10,000 adults across Wales take part in Adult Learners’ Week, which is co-ordinated by Learning and Work Institute in partnership with the Welsh Government and other partners.
Specialised advice and guidance will be available on retraining, personal learning accounts, childcare and redundancy via Working Wales. www.workingwales.gov.wales
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.