18-year-old Aled had previously studied for GCSEs and A Levels and was already volunteering at Cultural Ambition Project host venue the National Slate Museum in Llanberis when the opportunity to apply for a traineeship came up.
Building on his time as a volunteer, he was keen to gain experience in other locations, so he was also based at the Storiel museum in nearby Bangor.
Across the two sites, Aled was able to undertake a good range of tasks. A typical day involved working front-of-house, staffing the welcome desk, dealing with phone enquiries, and helping with children’s activities. Behind the scenes, he also assisted with the installation of exhibits at Storiel and with the care of the houses at the National Slate Museum.
Aled, who is autistic, will continue to work with the National Slate Museum with the support of Agoriad, an organisation that supports people with additional needs into employment and in the workplace. He says that the traineeship is “a good way of gaining experience in different places and being paid to do it”.
Aled’s supervisor at the National Slate Museum was Dafydd, who saw hosting a trainee as a great way to contribute to skills development in the cultural heritage industry.
Dafydd and colleagues gained a lot from their experience of working with Aled, especially from devising and implementing processes for recording his development. The team worked together to create a range of experiences for Aled and were delighted with his progress and conscientiousness as a trainee.
Dafydd would encourage colleagues across the heritage sector to “remain involved and committed” to the Cultural Ambition Project as an important development for this important sector of the Welsh economy.
Aled is autistic and his additional needs meant that his Mum Nia was closely involved in his traineeship, to ensure both that he could get the most out of it and that the host venues were properly prepared to work with him.
The host venues were in touch regularly with Nia, keeping her informed of their plans so that she could help prepare Aled for the tasks he would be undertaking each week. She also visited Storiel with him prior to his placement there, to help him to become familiar with the setting.
Aled is unable to read or write but has a very good memory, which has helped him with his placements.
Nia is delighted that taking part in the Cultural Ambition Project was open to Aled, giving him both experience and a qualification, and hopes that more opportunities will be available to young people on the autistic spectrum.