For most people work experience involves lots of photocopying and making endless cups of tea.
One Caerphilly teenager though impressed company bosses so much they offered him a job.
Former plumber and tiler Gavin Collins, 18, is now looking forward to a promising career in law after securing a job with local firm Caswell Jones.
Realising a manual trade wasn’t for him, Gavin did a basic skills course at ACT, Wales’ largest work-based learning company.
They found him work experience at the solicitors firm and three months into the placement he was offered a full-time job.
Now Gavin, who is from Bedwas, is studying towards an A-Level in Law and hopes one day to become a legal executive.
Gavin said: “A year ago, I never thought I’d be working in an office, let alone studying law. I’m really grateful to ACT and to Caswell Jones for giving me this opportunity.
“Not only has the experience been good for my basic skills such as maths and IT, but I’ve also gained a lot of self-confidence, especially having been allowed to sit in court on several occasions.”
Gavin’s employers say they were impressed with his strong work ethic and willingness to learn.
Stephen Jones, managing partner at Caswell Jones, said: “We were fully aware that Gavin had never done anything like this before, but he really made a great impression on us from the start.
“He is extremely keen to learn about the business and about law in general. It’s obvious that he has received some fantastic training at ACT, and we certainly wouldn’t rule out contacting ACT again if a position arises within the company.”
During the economic slump, employers have been reluctant to provide young people with opportunities to prove themselves in the work place, either through a work placement or a job. There are currently around one million 16 to 24-year-olds out of work in the UK.
As the country eases out of recession, managing director of ACT, Andrew Cooksley, hopes that employers will start to invest in young people once again.
Mr Cooksley said: “It can be a gamble for companies to take on a young person who doesn’t have very much experience in that particular line of business. But my argument is that everyone has to start somewhere.
“At ACT we endeavour to instil a good work ethic in our learners which will ultimately prove to be valuable to their future employers.
“Gavin is an example of someone who has really benefited from our training and as a result has managed to set himself on a very promising career path. I am grateful to Caswell Jones Solicitors for helping Gavin achieve what he has so far and I hope we can work with the company in the same way in future.”
ACT has a training centre on the Pontygwindy Industrial Estate in Caerphilly. It also has several centres in Cardiff and Bridgend.
Gavin found out about ACT by visiting his local Careers Wales office. To contact ACT directly call 029 2040 8408 or visit www.acttraining.org.uk