“I’m no longer only “mum,” thanks to my apprenticeship – I’m Jayne Williams in my own right.’
A 58-year-old apprentice from Newport wants to show that it is never too late to start your dream career after securing her new role in Learning and Development.
Jayne Williams, a Learning and Delivery Officer at HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), says that her apprenticeship has helped her gain her own identity after spending her younger years bringing up her two sons.
She is now eager to inspire others to consider apprenticeships and reach their potential, no matter their age or circumstances.
Jayne said: “My Nana got her first O Level at 65, and this was a huge motivation for me to take the leap and start learning again. Doing an apprenticeship later in life has allowed me to draw upon my life experience and soft skills, which I didn’t have when I was younger.
“My apprenticeship has given me so much confidence in myself and my identity; I’ve proved to myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind to with hard work and dedication even in my 50s. My sons are so proud of me.”
Jayne started working in her 30s after her children had started high school, where she tried numerous different roles and career paths.
She said: “After having my two boys, my focus was to bring them up and be on hand for support so that they had a solid foundation for their education.
“I’m not going to say it was easy and we struggled financially, so I always knew that I wanted to have a career once they’d left school to give me more stability. I didn’t have a plan as such but tried different jobs, from working in a contact centre to opening my own burger van.”
After doing some part-time agency work at HMCTS, Jayne was offered a full-time role as an Immigration Count Clark, which is where she found her passion for learning and first discovered apprenticeships are available for people of all ages.
She added: “During my time as a Count Clerk, I loved helping to train and develop other members of the team, so when I saw a Learning and Development based apprenticeship come up, I instantly had to find out more.
“After applying, I was offered a place on my Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Advice & Guidance, I knew it was my time to build the foundations for my career doing something I was passionate about.
“My boys were all grown up and it was my time to focus on my career and prove to myself what I was really capable of. Being able to work and earn a wage while I gained my qualification was a big reason why I applied for an apprenticeship as I didn’t have to worry about juggling money while studying.”
Jayne considers the skills and knowledge she gained during her apprenticeship vital to her job, and knows the experience has entirely changed her life.
She continued: “My apprenticeship journey has been a total rollercoaster. Not only have I learnt new skills that will help increase my employability, but I’ve demonstrated to my employer that I was willing to go above and beyond to further my career which helped me stand out from the crowd.
“My apprenticeship has thrown me into the spotlight and boosted my profile within the company. I’m now the go-to person for apprenticeships, and I’m helping to coach others going through what I did a year ago; I’ve really come full circle.”
Jayne won the ‘Higher Apprentice of the Year’ award at last year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which rewards individuals, learning providers, and employers who have excelled in contributing to apprenticeship programmes across Wales.
She added, “Being able to represent Wales and winning the award, apart from having my children, is the biggest achievement of my life. I’m so unbelievably proud of myself and my Nana would be too. Seeing my boys’ faces when I picked up the award was an amazing moment, they realised I’m not just mum anymore!”
“My husband was a huge support during my whole apprenticeship experience, and he is so proud of me. I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Jayne’s hoping to continue her development next year too, by completing her Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification or a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Learning & Development.
She said: “Learning is a beautiful thing, and no one can take it away from you. Even when times are tough, just remember that there is no such thing as a fail, it is just your first attempt at learning. I’m so excited to continue my learning journey and help support others through theirs too.”
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Skills and qualifications are the biggest single influence on a person’s chance of being in employment, and on them earning a good income and offering a route out of poverty and protection against it. Apprenticeships can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce – offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills. They are also crucial to our ambitious vision for a Wales where no one is held back.
“Apprenticeships are a genius decision, for both employers seeking to future-proof their workforces and nurture the talent that exists within Wales, and Jayne is a great example of how apprenticeships can help you progress your career and develop your skills at any time of your life.”
If you, like Jayne, want to see what’s out there in the world of apprenticeships, there is a wide range of options open to you.
Apprenticeship Week Wales is a great way to discover some of those that are on offer, so you can not only find a career you love, but go on to build your skills in it.
For more information about becoming an apprentice, visit www.gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 0800 028 4844.