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Apprentice with additional learning needs becomes ice hockey ambassador

06 Feb 2023 4 minute read
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething and Michael Speare

A young ice hockey enthusiast with additional learning needs is helping community sport clubs in north-east Wales boost the number of people taking part by becoming an apprentice sports coach.

Following its reopening at the end of 2022, the Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club and Aura Wales has provided the shared apprenticeship opportunity for Michael Speare who is helping to increase local participation in ice hockey and ice skating.

As the annual National Apprenticeship Week gets underway, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething is encouraging more firms to consider how an apprentice can help them boost their businesses.

Vaughan Gething said: “It’s been a real pleasure to meet Michael and to learn more about his work at Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club. He is the perfect ambassador for the sport.

“I’m delighted our shared apprenticeship scheme is providing new opportunities for young people who cannot find permanent employment to learn new skills in the workplace, helping them gain new qualifications that will enable them to secure and sustain full-time permanent jobs.

“Quality all-age apprenticeships are proven to unlock higher earnings in better careers. They 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.”


Taking place between 6-12 February 2023, National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships and the value they bring to employers and learners across Wales.

The Welsh Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee provides apprenticeships to under 25s in Wales with support to gain a place in education or training, find a job or become self-employed.

Mike Welch, Chief Executive of Aura Wales, said: “What was a pretty bleak future for the Junior Ice Hockey Club due to the pandemic is now looking really positive.

“We can see growth and progression to the Club and Michael is playing a really important role in supporting this. The level of growth we have experienced would not have been possible without the apprenticeship scheme and Achieve More Training.”

The Welsh Government, in partnership with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, Achieve More Training and Ap-prentis, is providing support for community sport clubs in north Wales to recruit and train a local young person in the role of a community sport coach, as part of a shared apprenticeship programme.

The rollout includes a scheme in Community Sports that plans to get more children and young people participating in sport through their local sports clubs.

Extra mile

Jordan Hadaway, Shared Apprentice Co-ordinator Achieve More Training, said: “I really believe that this shared apprenticeship scheme between the sports clubs and ourselves at Achieve More Training will help the clubs be able to go that extra mile and let them deliver and make an impact in the communities more than they have ever been able to.”

The additional funding will be used to maintain a focus on technical skill priorities, the needs of the foundational economy and high demand sectors such as Health & Social Care and Childcare and to contribute towards our net zero ambitions.

Shared apprenticeships have been delivered over the last five years, initially in Engineering and Construction sectors in the Valleys Taskforce area in south Wales.

The programme was redeveloped in 2022 and expanded across all regions of Wales and other sectors including the creative industries and theatre, and sport and leisure.

The target cohorts for shared apprenticeships are sectors with low take-up of apprenticeships, SMEs new to apprenticeships, disadvantaged young people and underrepresented groups.

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