A-level results: The school leaver leading the marketing department at a Cardiff housing association

At just 19 years old, Carys Wiggins from Tonyrefail is running the marketing department at Taff Housing while studying for a sponsored degree with Network75, after acing her A-levels last summer.

This time last year, Carys was preparing for her A-Level results at Tonyrefail Community School and exploring her future options. Luckily, she got the grades she wanted to go to university but was unsure about going due to the lack of ‘real-life’ experience.

Carys became aware of the Network75 scheme at the University of South Wales. Like a degree apprenticeship, the scheme offers students a debt-free route to a degree with five years of industry experience. Carys was keen to pursue a marketing degree but wanted to gain the skills she needed to pursue a career in the sector. Finding out this was one of the 16 degrees Network75 offers, she knew this was too good an opportunity to miss. After a vigorous interview process with Network75 and later with host company and ‘sponsor’ Taff Housing, Carys was offered a place on her dream marketing degree and a sponsored placement at Taff.

With the support of Helen White, Taff Housing’s Chief Executive, Carys started her new role as Trainee PR and Communications Officer in September last year. Since then, she has settled into balancing her week between three days in the office and two days at university where she is studying a BSc (Hons) Marketing Management.

At the age of 19, Carys is leading the housing association’s internal communications and delivering high-quality marketing tools and resources for Taff’s 200 staff and over 5,000 service users.

Carys Wiggins says:

“I will always be grateful for the chance Network75 and Taff Housing have given me. The scheme gives you the best of both worlds to obtain a degree and gain work experience. I’m being given the responsibility to get on with some really challenging tasks but am loving every minute. I am learning so much from everyone and gaining skills I never thought I would. It really is a fantastic opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring.”

Helen White says:

“Carys may be just 19 years old, but you’d never know it when you meet her. She has the maturity of someone who has been working with us for years and is one of Taff Housing’s greatest assets.

Our relationship with Network75 is new, but if they open the door to amazing talents like Carys, I’ve no doubt we’ll want to use the programme more in future.”

A representative from Network75 says:

“Network75 is proud to offer students the unique opportunity to work, earn and learn. We are thankful for the continued support from local companies such as Taff Housing where our students gain invaluable hands-on experience throughout the five-year programme. Our aim is to help the companies involved to grow and develop tailor-made talent for their business, while offering a young person a route into employment. Network75 is extremely proud of its 100% employability record and hope to see Taff Housing students being a part of this upon graduation.”