Apprenticeship first for Cardiff teen Chris Matthews


ACT Chris Matthews Clarke Wilmott 3

CITY legal firm Clarke Wilmott has hired the first apprentice ever to be based at its Cardiff office in line with a call from Wales’ leading training provider for businesses to ‘think apprentice’ in 2017.

Chris Matthews, 18, joins Clarke Wilmott’s administration team as the first candidate to be recruited as an apprentice into the national firm’s Cardiff office, which provides a broad spectrum of legal services for both individuals and business clients.

Chris, from Whitchurch, fulfilled plans to access the world of work shortly after completing his A Level studies when Clarke Wilmott staff based in Wales’ capital city decided to break with tradition and hire an apprentice in partnership with ACT Training.

Chris said: “I just wanted a chance to experience the world of work. I’m quite process driven and have a practical mentality overall, so getting out of academia and into a working environment felt like the next step for me.”

“When I saw the position advertised with Clarke Wilmott I thought straight away that the work involved was exactly the kind of role I was looking for, and couldn’t be happier to be supporting the administrative department with a hugely varied range of tasks covering all aspects of the business.”

Chris is studying for a Business Administration Level 2 qualification with Clarke Wilmott after the company contacted ACT Training for assistance in finding the ideal candidate.

ACT Chris Matthews and Sharon Fair Clarke Wilmott

As Wales’ leading training provider, ACT Training has in turn been challenging local businesses Wales-wide to ‘think apprentice’ in 2017 and pledging in return to find them the perfect recruit in time for National Apprenticeship Week.

Running from March 6-10, National Apprenticeship Week 2017 brings together employers and apprentices from across England and Wales to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships and traineeships continue to have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

In Clarke Wilmott’s case, the company opted to start the year by advertising for an apprenticeship vacancy to be based at its Cardiff branch – a decision which has so far proved to be very positive indeed.

Grace Larbey, Human Resources Advisor at Clarke Wilmott, said: “It can be really difficult to know what you want to do when you haven’t yet experienced the reality of a daily working environment, and I think it’s really important as a business to support young people in carving out the right path of progression that is best suited to them as an individual.

“There was a need at our Cardiff office to expand the administrative resource currently in place and it seemed like the ideal opportunity to bring forward an apprenticeship candidate to fulfil those requirements, while finding one as dedicated and hard working as Chris has made the decision a very successful one all round.”

Established more than 28 years ago, ACT Training has centres in Aberdare, Barry, Blackwood, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Newport and Swansea and currently works with over 700 employers including British Gas, NatWest, Barclays, NHS Health Boards, Radisson Blu, Admiral and many more to place trainees in a wide variety of work-based roles.

As Wales’ leading training provider, the organisation decided to mark National Apprenticeship Week 2017 by calling on businesses in all sectors to come forward and discover more about the benefits apprenticeships can bring to both the business and individual involved as part of their very own ‘Apprenticeship Challenge’.

Andrew Cooksley, Managing Director at ACT Training, said: “The placement of Chris into a work environment he had long desired to experience, but had perhaps previously been unaware of as a viable route for progression or indeed as an option available locally, is exactly why the ACT Apprenticeship Challenge was devised.

“We wanted to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2017 by highlighting the benefits apprenticeships now offer across a wide range of fields to both individuals and businesses nationwide, particularly when it comes to further expansion, and it seems this couldn’t have played out better in real time in the case of Clarke Wilmott.”