Teen hoping to build on early construction success
A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD from Llanelli has made a flying start to his career by winning a unique construction apprenticeship.
Former St John Lloyd pupil Keelan McNicholl-Edwards has won the Next Steps 2013 competition, after battling it out against three other teens through the summer.
Keelan started as a carpentry apprentice with Llanelli and Gwendraeth-based construction firm Lloyd & Gravell yesterday, where he will pick up skills on site and study for a qualification with Coleg Sir Gâr.
Keelan, of Clifton Terrace, said: "I am really chuffed, and didn't think I'd win it because all the boys worked hard and deserved it.
"It's been a fantastic experience, and I can't wait to start."
Kevin Gravell, director of Lloyd & Gravell, declared the competition a huge success.
"All four boys have done themselves proud, and it has been harder than ever to pick one from the others," he said.
"Keelan has shown great enthusiasm and commitment, has always got stuck in and has shown great skills. We're delighted to have him on board."
Three others narrowly missed out on the prize — Osian Williams, from Tumble; Jack Tucker from Carmarthen; and Edward Warden from Ammanford.
Each have been offered places on a Pathways to Apprenticeship course at Coleg Sir Gâr.
Next Steps is run annually by Constructing Carmarthenshire Together — a partnership of Carmarthenshire County Council, Coleg Sir Gâr and Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association.
As well as offering a unique opportunity to fast-track their career, the youngsters also get involved in a worthwhile community scheme, this year building a sensory garden for Tir Einon Respite Centre, for adults with severe disabilities.
Gareth John, head of mental health and learning disabilities for Carmarthenshire Council, said: "This project has proven what can be achieved when everyone works together.
"These boys have helped to achieve something that we thought was impossible, and in my eyes they are all winners.
"Seeing the smiles on people's faces when we reveal the garden in a few weeks time will be priceless, and I can't wait."