A school pupil from Risca landed their ideal apprenticeship after attending a school event hosted by a locally based engineering company.

Connor Thomas, was a year 11 student at Islwyn High when he attended an employer engagement event hosted by Careers Wales and William Hare Ltd.

He said: “When we were told about the workshop by a teacher, I put my name down for it. I had family members working in a similar area and that felt familiar to me through them.

“People from William Hare came into school and told us all about the company and what they did.

“When we went for a walk around on site, I felt like I wanted to be there.”

Connor was delighted when he found out he had been accepted onto the programme.

He is currently enjoying his time at William Hare and is confident that this has been the right route for him to take to start his career.

Connor said: “I was really chuffed when I found out I’d got the apprenticeship and felt really lucky to have been picked.”

“I work with different people every day and helping to do some of the biggest jobs in the company.

“It’s very different from school – it’s more hands-on and in-depth. Plus it’s very good money for somebody my age.

“I especially enjoy the welding jobs and I’m looking forward to carrying on.”

William Hare was working in partnership with Careers Wales to host workshops to raise awareness of their apprenticeship programme amongst local pupils.

Michele, said: “Partnerships between schools and local employers can be hugely beneficial to both.

“Employer engagement events, such as workshops and site visits, help to expand the horizons of pupils by introducing them to industries, roles and opportunities they may not have considered before.

“In turn, they help employers to increase awareness of the opportunities they offer to young people in their local area, address skills gaps and as shown in Connor’s story, can even lead to direct employment.”

Beverly Powell, a production control administrator and Connor’s supervisor at William Hare, said: “Working in partnership with Careers Wales and Islwyn High enabled us to promote the steel fabrication industry and communicate the opportunities available and career progression possibilities within William Hare.

“We feel this visit was mutually beneficial, enabling us to reach out to new talent, as well as give the students information and advice on career paths that they may not have been aware of, and which enable them to earn as they learn.

“Connor came to us at the age of 16, he quickly transitioned from school life to work life, and in the six months he has been with us has learned many new skills.

“He is fully supported by a many colleagues, including a mentor on the factory floor and a learning development advisor, who all work closely with the Coleg Gwent to ensure Connor can reach his full potential.”

If you are at school and would like to explore opportunities, including apprenticeships, with a careers adviser, please speak to a member of school staff who can advise how to book an appointment with the school adviser. You or your parent or carer can also call Careers Wales free on 0800 028 4844, email post@careerswales.gov.wales or through live chat.

If you’re aged 16 or over and would like to explore your opportunities, including apprenticeships, with a careers adviser, please contact the Working Wales team by calling free on 0800 028 4844, emailing workingwales@careerswales.gov.wales or through our live chat.

If you are an employer and would like to find out more about working with Careers Wales to support young people, please email employerengagement@careerswales.gov.wales.