A CHEPSTOW man has set his sights on a career in carpentry after overcoming bullying.

Jamie Hopkins was severely bullied at school and as a result left without any qualifications.

It wasn’t until four years later that he rediscovered his love of learning thanks to the support he received through a traineeship with Itec.

Mr Hopkins, 20, from Beachley, near Chepstow, makes craft items in a workshop at home as a hobby with the skills he has developed and is focused on a career in fine carpentry.

He had no idea what career path to follow when he initially enrolled, but showed a natural flair for woodworking.

Due to his school experience, he found group sessions difficult, so construction workshop supervisor John Smith began one-to-one tutoring to build his skills and self-confidence.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, Mr Hopkins was able to set up a garage workshop at home and began making bespoke gift items which he sold in a local shop.

He also played a leading role in Itec’s ‘A gift at Christmas’ project, raising money for vulnerable children and food hampers for those families in need.

Hoping to find an apprenticeship with a local business, Jamie is now working towards a Carpentry Level 1 Diploma at Coleg Gwent, Newport.

He credits his success to the support provided by Itec’s Newport Centre where he achieved a Traineeship Level 1 in Employability Skills.

He said. “Itec got me started with carpentry and John knew exactly what I wanted to do.

"He’s so good with people and a really nice person. I now want to learn as much as possible.”

Mr Smith said: “Jamie is an outstanding learner; he’s very kind, helpful and is always there to support and inspire his peers.

"He is now a hard-working, confident and committed young man with a bright future.”

Now, he has been shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1) award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.

This annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.

The awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.