Not even a global pandemic has stopped a Pontypridd teenager from fulfilling his career goals and landing himself his dream job at a barbering salon.
After discovering his grades were a cut above the rest, Coleg y Cymoedd learner Daniel Braund, 17, from Pontypridd, has bagged himself a full-time position with Hawthorn-based Lost Boys Club Barbers after achieving 100% in his barbering qualification at college.
The talented stylist, who has just completed his barbering level 2 course at college, is excited to take his first steps on the career ladder, albeit working in a very different environment to what he was expecting due to Covid-19.
Originally, Daniel enrolled at college to study for a plumbing qualification, but he soon realised the course was not for him. Having always been interested in barbering, and enjoying meeting new people, he decided to switch courses and has not looked back since.
For Daniel, who has struggled with his mental health over the last two years due to losing both of his grandparents, barbering has proven to be the perfect outlet, helping him to overcome these issues and think more positively.
As an advocate for male mental health, Daniel believes that barbering can indirectly help men of all ages with their mental health, providing them with a safe space to open up.
Now, starting a new job during the pandemic has meant that Daniel has had to quickly learn and adapt to new ways of working with social distancing, increased cleaning procedures and personal protective equipment.
While the role is very different from what he had imagined at the beginning of the year, Daniel has taken everything in his stride. He said: “I was so happy to get 100% on my course and am really proud, especially considering the added stress that came with the coronavirus pandemic as well as the personal struggles I have faced over the last couple of years.
“Getting a job so soon after completing my qualification is an amazing added bonus. I love barbering and am so excited to start my career at Lost Boys Club. It’s made me realise I definitely made the right decision to switch courses and has given me confidence in my barbering skills.
“While it has been strange starting a job during COVID, I feel I’ve got used to it now. I’ve only been working a couple of weeks, but the experience has been incredible. I’m excited to learn more and improve on the skills I learnt throughout college.”
Daniel’s success comes as Coleg y Cymoedd has reported its third successive record-breaking year of A-level and vocational results. The college’s Nantgarw-based A-level Centre, which switched to remote learning in March following the Covid-19 outbreak, has achieved a 99.7 per cent overall pass rate, with the number of learners attaining A*-C grades up to 80.9 % per cent at A2 and the majority of A2 subject areas securing a 100 per cent pass rate, including the sciences, humanities, further maths and English.
The results continue a trend of improvement for the college, which has had to adapt its teaching and pastoral care practices to support leaners as they work from home via online lectures, virtual catch ups and continual check ins.