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Nina's story

Animal care learner, Nina, holding a lizard

Nina is going above and beyond to land her dream job.

Turning an interest into a job

Nina, from Cardiff, hopes to support more young people like herself one day by becoming an Animal Care skills tutor.

Despite leaving school without GCSEs, Nina, who has had a passion for animals since she was little, found an opportunity on the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme to practice what she loves – all while getting paid.

Nina is now going from strength to strength on the programme, having progressed to the Advancement strand which involves boosting her skillset and experiencing the world of work.

She hopes to motivate more young people who have a love for animals by becoming a skills tutor – and already, she knows the path she needs to follow to land her dream job.

Nina explained: “I joined the programme because I have a love for animals. It’s the only interest I have; there’s nothing else I want to do. It’s amazing I can train in animal care and specialise in mammals too.

“I left school without my GCSEs, so I needed an option to be able to train, but ideally, get paid at the same time. I’ve also had the opportunity to re-study to get my Maths and English qualifications after not getting them while I was in school.”

Opportunities to boost her skillset

She explained: “When I look back at how I was before I joined, I can’t believe how much I’ve improved. I had really bad anxiety and virtually no confidence.

“I was successful in landing work experience at the ACT Skills Academy where I’m doing my training, working in the canteen and on the reception desk fielding calls. This has helped me grow in confidence. I wanted to be able to add as many skills as I could to my CV that would look good to an employer.

“I also had a work placement as an animal technician which was when I decided I wanted to be a skills tutor in the future. On the placement, I was acting as a teaching assistant for the tutor, prepping the equipment and supporting the new learners who came onto the course. I found it so rewarding and it made me realise I was good at helping and teaching people.”

Reaching her potential

For Nina, getting one-to-one support from tutors on the programme was important for her to be able to progress.

She explained: “On the programme you can do things at a very steady pace and don’t need to rush through everything – that’s what I like.

“Our tutors are just amazing. If you ever need anything, you just go to them, and they will 100% help you. With any issues like dyslexia or like Irlen Syndrome, which I suffer with , they always know what to do and have the resources ready to help you.”

With some work placements now under her belt, Nina hopes to progress to the Employment strand of Jobs Growth Wales+ soon to experience a full-time job.

Nina added: “I’ve made the best friends on the programme, and I’ve already gained so much work experience that I can add to my CV. Also, getting paid means I have more independence. I care for my own guinea pigs, so I’m able to afford to look after them properly without relying on anyone else.

I’d definitely recommend the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme. The training is amazing, and ultimately, they’ll help you find a job that you’ll really enjoy.”


Jobs Growth Wales Plus

Jobs Growth Wales+ is a training and development programme for 16-19 year olds that gives you the skills, qualifications and experience you need to get a job or further training.

Real life stories

See how real people around Wales have changed their story with Jobs Growth Wales+.