A little cross-border co-operation has helped 20-year-old Kenan Perry to become the first Welsh trainee to gain a foundation Modern Apprenticeship in signmaking even though there is no training centre for this craft in Wales.
Kenan liked art and design at Tregaron secondary school and helped out at BK signs in Aber-ystwyth in the summer holidays. On leaving Tregaron, BK offered him a job.
But managing director Lynne Joseph insisted that Kenan do more than learn on the job. "We want our signwriters to be professionally-trained so that customers are confident about the service they are getting," he says. .
So BK approached Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training. In co-operation with the national lifelong learning organisation, Education and Learning Wales, it created a two-year foundation MA for Kenan.
It had to devise a bespoke training plan to take Kenan to Level 2 NVQ standard, and make a contribution towards his employer's costs. Putting the plan together was a challenge as there is no training organisation for signwriters in Wales. Sheffield-based specialist, David Gregory, was brought in. He advised on the plan and then carried out a quarterly independent assessment of Kenan's work.
Mr Joseph is also delighted with Kenan's success: "Kenan is extremely good at his job, and becoming the first person in Wales to hold the foundation Modern Apprenticeship is a great achievement.
"It took quite a while assembling the evidence for every single thing I'd done for Mr Gregory, but he was very helpful, and I managed to plough through it," says Kenan. "Qualifying has given me a lot more self-confidence. Now that I know I'm professionally qualified, it makes me do a better job."
Kenan now occasionally finds himself producing signs for his old school. If the principality does one day get its own training centre for signwriting, then surely there is only one man who should make the sign over the entrance.