Swansea Creative Focus Advent Calendar
Day Eighteen: 18/12/2019

Tonight sees one of the TV highlights of the year, as the fifteenth series of The Apprentice comes to a close. As with any reality TV show the contestants often seem to have been showing off for the camera rather than demonstrating a set of skills, but the show does attempt to find a balance between good TV and good business practice. For the people who begin apprenticeships in Swansea each year, a different balance needs to be found. A balance between study and job-readiness. The Welsh Government aims to create 100,000 new apprenticeships by 2021. The country and the region needs a skilled, motivated workforce ready to apply distinctive talent to the creative and economic challenges that will face us in the 2020s and beyond.

The good news is, there are shining examples of this talent being nurtured in Swansea right now.

For the past two years Caio Santos has studied at Swansea ITeC as part of a design apprenticeship with Swansea Bay University Hospital Health Board that also included a work placement in the medical illustration department of Morriston Hospital. Relishing the challenges of the course and the work experience, Caio successfully completed the IT User Level 3 qualification this summer and decided to go one step further, attending an Art and Design Level 3 course at Gower College which will build a bridge to a career in the creative arts.

Working in partnership with Apprenticeship Academy, Swansea ITeC offers a range of apprenticeships with valuable local work experience placements. They give students a practical introduction to the world of work in their chosen field while also encouraging their creative talent to flower. In Caio Santos’s case, its been a notable success. Caio’s coursework has featured strikingly original creations that celebrate Swansea’s landmarks and its city status. In Caio’s own words:

“I’ve been made to feel at home here. I’ve been made to feel that I can create and achieve, and do it on my own terms. This city gives people a voice, and I’ll always be grateful for that. My work includes images from locations such as the Marina and beach area plus the residential building from Walter Road and stencil art from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. I’ve photoshopped these images that I took with my camera to create a piece under the theme Swansea 50 to mark our 50th anniversary as a city”

The result is a huge credit to the artist and to the apprenticeship that helped him develop his talent. Swansea ITeC Managing Director Helen Necrews take great pride in these achievements:

“Caio has shown all of us what can be accomplished when a talented person finds the right medium to express himself. It’s our privilege at Swansea ITeC to help him on his way”.

Swansea’s apprentices may not be getting £250,000 from Alan Sugar and they may not be on TV, but they are getting a shot at the future of their choice. As far as we’re concerned, they’re hired.

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