First ever apprentice role created for boy from Abergynolwyn thanks to Careers Wales

A boy from Abergynolwyn who was on an alternative education programme from the age of 14 has secured his dream job thanks to Careers Wales.

Oscar Hutchinson, 16, has been offered an apprenticeship at Talyllyn Railway in Tywyn, after Careers Wales arranged a work placement for him as part of its TRAC 11-24 programme.

The project aims to reduce the number of 11- 24 year-olds at highest risk of becoming NEET in North Wales, through a range of interventions.

Two years after offering Oscar the placement, Talyllyn Railway has created its first apprenticeship post in the railway’s history, especially for Oscar..  

Oscar also had the chance to meet the chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, who presented Oscar with his certificate and congratulated him on his achievement. 

Having struggled to cope in school, Oscar was put on the “Pecyn 25” education programme and was given one-to-one lessons both in school and at the Dolgellau local library. He also attended vocational courses as well as individual sessions with Careers Wales Advisers as part of the TRAC programme.

As part of his apprenticeship, which starts in September, Oscar will be attending college in Dolgellau undertaking a Level 2 course in Performing Engineering Options, and will then go on to do a more railway-focused programme. 

Oscar said: "I’m so grateful to Careers Wales for setting up my work placement and for giving me so much help and advice. After being excluded from school, I really needed the direction and structure that they gave me; just to be told where I needed to be and when.

"I love working at Talyllyn Railway. I’m a really hands-on person and I love being outdoors, so working on the tracks suits me so much better than being in school. I can’t wait to start a proper apprenticeship in September.

"I would probably just be washing up in a café or working as a waiter now if it weren’t for Careers Wales helping me and giving me all the right advice."

Oscar’s employer, Stuart Williams, general manager at Talyllyn Railway, said: "Oscar gets on with everyone here at Talyllyn. Our team spans a range of ages, including some volunteers who are in their 80s, and Oscar has managed to fit in with everyone.

"He sets himself high standards and is the sort of boy who will use his initiative and pick up a brush if the floor needs sweeping. We really appreciate his hard work and dedication."

"Oscar has been an asset during his placement with us. He has impressed so much, which is why we’ve been able to create our first ever apprentice position." 

"At Talyllyn, we’re very committed to the community and helping young people to find work. The work we do alongside Careers Wales allows us to achieve these goals and Oscar is a great example of this."

Tony Williams, Business Engagement Adviser for Careers Wales, said: "Oscar has been one of our most successful placement students, and we are delighted that the scheme has enabled him to start full time as an apprentice at Talyllyn Railway."

"We’re pleased to have been able to help Oscar to find a job that he enjoys and reach his potential." 

 "We hope that our schemes like the TRAC programme will be beneficial to many other young people who find themselves in a similar position to Oscar, and will support them in choosing the best career paths for them."

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