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Education

Pembroke Dock teenager on career ladder

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dreamcareer19 year-old Martyn Carroll from Pennar is following his dream career to become an engineer through an Apprenticeship.

After completing 10 GSCEs, Martyn studied Electrical Engineering at Pembrokeshire College and then applied to Mainport Engineering in Pembroke Dock to do an apprenticeship to become an Instrument Technician.

Martyn said: “My dad’s an engineer and I’ve always been interested in engineering too. I did work experience on the refinery when I did my GCSEs and absolutely loved it, so now I’m doing this sort of work every day it’s brilliant. Not every part of my job is easy but I like problem solving and each day brings new challenges.

“On a typical day I’ll be given a list of jobs that need doing that day and I do a lot of preventative maintenance to ensure everything is working properly and assess the equipment. I never get bored of my job as I’m so busy!”

Martyn has successfully completed the Foundation stage of his course through Mainport Engineering and Pembrokeshire College, and now working closely with Valero Energy Ltd, he will continue his next three years to completion. He works on the Valero Pembroke Refinery with one day a week at College.

He has ambitions to become a technician and go on to University and study to become an engineer.

He said: “When I’ve finished my apprenticeship I want to be a technician for a couple of years to get practical experience and then I’m planning to do a part-time degree at Pembrokeshire College to become a fully qualified engineer.

“I’d urge anyone to do an apprenticeship as it’s a great way to learn on the job and get paid for it. I think it’s a better route to an engineering career than going to University because you get to learn quickly and from a variety of very skilled engineers in the field.”

Jeff Harries, contract director from Mainport Engineering said: “Martyn is really hard-working and does everything he’s asked to do – and more. He’s shown real enthusiasm for the job and it’s been worthwhile seeing his progression throughout the apprenticeship. We take on seven apprentices each year who go on to train with Mainport Engineering or Valero and the majority stay on as full-time employees.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to kick-start a successful career, giving them the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications as well as essential, practical and relevant skills, all while earning a wage.

“But many students are still unaware of the number and variety of options available to them at 16 or 18. As thousands of young people across Wales nervously await their GCSE and A level results this week, we hope that sharing stories like Martyn’s will be helpful to those preparing to make important decisions about their future, and reiterate the variety of options available in Wales.”

“The Welsh Government regards apprenticeships as an excellent way to build a skilled and competitive workforce, address skills shortages and ultimately strengthen the Welsh economy.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.

For more information about apprenticeships, or to find out about the other options available to young people via the Where Now campaign, please visit www. careerswales.com/wherenow or call 0800 100 900. Also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ apprenticeshipscymru

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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