Coleg y Cymoedd learner lands top apprenticeship

A learner from Trehafod has beat off stiff competition from hundreds of others across Wales to become one of just 10 new apprentices at a top aircraft engineering firm.

Coleg y Cymoedd learner, 18-year-old Cameron Forbes, has landed a spot on the three-year aircraft apprenticeship maintenance programme with St Athan based company, CAERDAV, one of the UK’s leading providers of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul.

With a keen interest in fixing things, Cameron has been working on repairing bikes in his spare time since he was 13. After undertaking a mechanical engineering course at Coleg y Cymoedd, Cameron had his sights set on becoming an aircraft engineer and is now encouraging other young people to consider the apprenticeship route as part of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from the 7th – 13th February 2022.

Cameron said: “My dream is to be an aircraft technician. After my apprenticeship, I want to complete my B1 license which will allow me to qualify as a licensed aircraft engineer. I’ve always loved fixing things and now I will get paid while I’m training. I am hoping the apprenticeship leads to a full-time position with CAERDAV and am looking forward to seeing what the future brings for my career.”

To get a place on the highly competitive CAERDAV apprenticeship programme, which receives more than 170 applications each year, Cameron had to complete a series of mechanical and numerical reasoning tests, attend an interview where he had to give a presentation on his personal attributes, and undertake a hands-on skill assessment.

Before deciding to pursue an apprenticeship, Cameron took part in a pre-apprenticeship course at Coleg y Cymoedd. His apprenticeship will begin this September, but in the meantime, Cameron is studying at college and will work with CAERDAV during the summer holidays to boost his experience.
From September, Cameron will be on-site at CAERDAV one day a week with the rest of his time spent at college. For his final year, he will work at the company full-time. Following the three-year apprenticeship, Cameron hopes to secure a full-time position at CAERDAV as an aircraft mechanic.
David Howells, Head of Computing and Engineering at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “We are incredibly proud that Cameron’s dedication and hard work has paid off, allowing him to beat competition from across South Wales to secure the opportunity with CAERDAV. We’re looking forward to following Cameron’s next steps as he starts his career.

“It’s great to see learners from the college achieving their dreams. We have worked closely with industry to design courses and apprenticeships that ensure our learners leave college equipped with the skills they need to enter industries career ready.”

Thomas helps shine the light

Thomas Eyre, 22, originally from Blackwood, but now living in Tenby completed his Level 3 Apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering at Coleg y Cymoedd. He chose the course, as he was interested in all aspects of engineering and the college has a good reputation for delivering engineering skills.

The apprenticeship instilled a good work ethic and highlighted the importance of team working, alongside the technical aspects. It also provided the opportunity to use problem solving skills within a demanding environment.

Thomas is currently employed as a Lighthouse Engineering Technician with Trinity House where, he is responsible for the electrical and mechanical engineering aspects of all the lighthouses and aids to navigational on the west coast of the UK, this includes onshore and offshore in remote spectacular locations.

Speaking about his apprenticeship Thomas said “I would recommend Coleg y Cymoedd and apprenticeships to others; it offers great opportunities being able to study in a good safe environment, with very good engineering facilities and supportive staff with engineering backgrounds. The apprenticeship has given me this fantastic opportunity to have a career within the environment that I enjoy and thrive in.”

‘Moulding’ specialist recruits Cymoedd talent

Futures@Cymoedd was established in April 2019 to enhance the provision offered to its learners at the college, when seeking support to apply for employment and apprenticeships. During this time the Futures Team have helped hundreds of learners to achieve excellent outcomes.

The Team also support employers looking to recruit new staff, with one such success linked to a local company OGM (SW) Limited, based at Penallta. The company, who produce quality plastic injection moulded parts and assemblies, using advanced injection moulding, automation and 3D printing technologies is expanding and were keen to offer two key roles within the organisation to those with the relevant skills, knowledge and qualifications.

The Futures team identified thirteen potential candidates from its cohort, who matched the criteria set out by OGM. The learners were contacted to establish an expression of interest in applying for the two roles of Apprentice Quality Engineer and Trainee Business and Systems Administrator; and their CV’s submitted to OGM.

Following a series of interviews William McKeown, studying on the Enhanced Engineering Programme Level 1 secured the position of Apprentice Quality Engineer and Drew Williams studying Access to HE Diploma Business & Financial Services secured the Trainee Business Systems Administrator role.

Commenting on his new employment William said” I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship at OGM (SW) Ltd; it’s provided me with lots of opportunities to improve my engineering skills. I’ve received training from both the Senior Quality Engineer and the Quality Manager to assist me in running a CMM and learn about the Quality Management System; they’ve both taught me a lot and are constantly encouraging me to develop my skills. The work based training I’m currently undertaking is underpinned by the apprenticeship framework in Engineering. Cymoedd’s Engineering Co-ordinator David Rees, is very supportive and provides guidance around the assessment process and qualification requirements. I am so grateful to Futures@Cymoedd, especially Michele who assisted me in ensuring my CV stood out from the crowd; matching my skills and knowledge to the apprenticeship opportunity at OGM. Everyone has been so supportive in helping me fulfil my career aspiration of working as an engineer

Securing his new role as Trainee Business Systems Administrator, Drew said “Since joining OGM, I have really enjoyed learning and developing new skills to support my role.  I also feel that I have made a good contribution with regards to business improvement within the organisation. Without the support of Michele and Futures@Cymoedd, I would not have got the Job.  Michele helped me to improve my confidence, re-write my CV and explore effective job search techniques to find employment when I left college.  The work based learning route has definitely been the right choice for me on a personal and developmental level. Coleg y Cymoedd is still supporting me with my work based training and assessment; Tammy Barker, Training Assessor has been really supportive taking me through my NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration. I am delighted to be working at OGM, they are a great team and I hope to have a long and successful career with them.

Richard Holley, Operations Director at OGM (SW) said “With the company rapidly expanding, we knew we needed to look to the future and bring on board some young enthusiastic apprentices.  With no prior experience of this type of recruitment we contacted Coleg y Cymoedd to help with the process, which was seamless. We’ve successfully recruited two employees who we feel will thrive in our business and add value as they and the business grow together. We will continue to work with Coleg y Cymoedd to fill future roles as they become available.

Damian Scriven, Quality Manager at OGM (SW) added “Coleg y Cymoedd has been a massive help to OGM in finding the right candidates. At first this seemed like a daunting task for me as Quality Manager, to find and recruit a suitable candidate; as it was OGMs first apprentice position within our South Wales Plant. Both Michele Harris- Cocker and David Rees have been instrumental in the transition from William’s college life into his full-time role as an Apprentice Quality Engineer. I can’t thank them enough for all their support and guidance throughout the signing up process and also their continued support. William is really enjoying his role at OGM and getting stuck into the daily life of a Quality Engineer.

Commenting on behalf of the Futures Team at Coleg y Cymoedd, Co-ordinator Michele Harris-Cocker said “It’s been a pleasure supporting OGM’s recruitment campaign, and helping them to match the talent we have at the college to their business needs.  Richard and Damian have been very supportive throughout the process, playing a vital role especially during Drew and Williams’ induction period into the organisation. I have kept in touch with OGM and the feedback has been really positive with both recruits enjoying their new roles. I am confident Drew and William will go far with their careers, as they are both focused and ambitious young men; it’s been a privilege to guide and support them during the process. 

I am delighted that we are able to support the new recruits with their on-going training and development needs through be-spoke training frameworks delivered by the college’s Work Based Learning team, it really has been a ‘Team Effort!

With ever evolving roles and different challenges both recruits are thriving with an incredibly supportive team behind them, both at OGM (SW) and Coleg y Cymoedd. A great example of partnership working, meeting the needs of the business whilst helping our learners fulfil their career aspirations.

OGM is a UK plastic injection moulder based in Hengoed, South Wales.


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