19-year-old Declan Thomas, from Trealaw, has gained a sought-after apprenticeship with Mid Glam Decorators, and claims Coleg y Cymoedd tutors are to thank for setting him on the right path after school failed him.
Out of more than sixty students, Declan has secured the traineeship at one of the most well-reputed firms in the area after joining the college’s Entry Level 3 Construction course just over two years ago, whilst acting as a part-time carer for his younger sister.
Leaving school with few GCSEs, uninspired, and juggling additional responsibilities at home, Declan was not sure of how he would ever reach his goal of one day owning his own decorating business. After hearing about its flexible timetables and enhanced student support network, Declan gave education a second chance by joining Coleg y Cymoedd, and turned his life around by embracing the practical style of learning and the independence that comes with college life.
Encouraged by the trusting relationship he developed with his tutors who supported his personal circumstances, Declan successfully passed all three units of Painting, Carpentry and Electrical Installation, and his determination and positive attitude saw him progress onto the Painting and Decorating Foundation course.
Declan was pleased to have been given another opportunity to follow his dreams. He said: “I love college. The tutors are so down-to-earth and easy to speak to about whatever I needed support with. They encouraged me to get my head down and try my best and so that’s what I did.”
As Declan grew in confidence and started to enjoy his time in classes, he began to thrive academically. Declan achieved a very good standard of work, and particularly impressed tutors during an Employability unit where he undertook mock interviews and prepared a CV.
When local traders Mid Glam Decorators approached the college for an apprentice, Declan stood out as the obvious choice for how much he had developed in such a short space of time.
“If you had told me two years ago that I would be in my dream job, travelling, and working in beautiful parts of the country and recently completed a decorating job at Margam Castle in Port Talbot, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve had so many opportunities from my apprenticeship and I owe that to my tutors. They have done so much for me and without them, I wouldn’t be here now.”
Speaking fondly of Declan’s success, Construction Lecturer, Christopher Marsh, said:
“It is with pride that I listen to Declan’s stories on a Wednesday afternoon in the Painting and Decorating Workshops. He shares with me all the travelling he is doing and the jobs he has completed as an apprentice. Declan is a very good learner, but through this experience and working in industry, he is becoming a great tradesperson.”
Looking to the future, Declan said: “My time at Coleg y Cymoedd has really broadened my horizons. I’m thoroughly enjoying what I’m doing now and most importantly, I’m happy. I hope to have my own painting and decorating company one day, and for now, I’m really enjoying working my way to getting there and I know I’m making my family proud.”
Discover Construction courses at Coleg y Cymoedd: https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/courses/construction/
Rhondda Cynon Taff