Ryan’s progress at Wolves with new qualification opportunity

30 July 2019     JTL

There’s a young man who has been working at Premier League Wolves for seven years who is on the way towards a new qualification, courtesy of the football club and the Birmingham training centre of JTL – one of the UK’s leading work-based learning providers. 

Ryan Smith began work at Wolves seven years ago as a cleaner. Ryan has learning difficulties and found school challenging. He left school without any qualifications and meandered through life for a while before the opportunity to work at Wolves came along. As with many people with complex learning difficulties, it simply needed someone to have the time to work out what Ryan’s strengths were and slot him into a role where he felt comfortable and confident and he quickly became a trusted, loyal employer of the football club. His duties quickly escalated to looking after the seats in the ground, helping to ensure the safety of the crowd on match days, helping support the TV production teams and having responsibility for the TV companies site access to cover games at the wonderful Molineux ground.

Ryan currently works for Mark Lewis the club’s Facilities Manager. Mark has been working at Wolves for twenty-four years: “We’ve seen Ryan grow and gain confidence over the years and we felt it was just reward to offer him the chance to go for a Level 2 Diploma which provides training towards becoming a fully qualified maintenance operative with a City & Guilds accreditation, with elements that include plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, plastering, ceramic tiling, health and safety, customer service and much more as well as significant help with Maths and English. Although at first Ryan was apprehensive and concerned he would not be able to achieve the required skills, he is now showing huge application and a real desire to do the necessary work. Ryan’s very excited about the possibility of having a qualification to his name at the end of it. We’ve been encouraging him and his Assessor from JTL – David Robinson - has been wonderful with him, helping and cajoling him through the necessary activities towards gaining his qualification.”

JTL’s David Robinson says it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Ryan: “It would be easy to side step working with potential learners like Ryan, but with a little patience and a lot of understanding, the successes we achieve with Ryan are fantastically warming and it’s really worth the extra effort to guide him towards his qualification. Working closely with the Facilities team at Wolves means we have a calming, but constant influence on Ryan to help him to undertake his assessments and his evidence-based work which we will need to get him his NVQ. He’s great to work with and the whole experience of working with him and the lads at Wolves has been very rewarding.”

JTL is best known for its apprenticeship schemes which provide an ideal entry route into the building services engineering sector, matching potential apprentices with an employer. 

JTL’s apprenticeship schemes allow young people to gain practical experience and ‘earn as they learn’, whilst achieving either a Level 2 or Level 3 National Vocational Qualification. The Property Maintenance Operative qualification is a Level 2 course currently being run by JTL as a pilot scheme in the West Midlands and in London.

You can find out more about Wolves by visiting

Left to right - Mark Lewis, Facilities Manager at Wolves, David Robinson from JTL and Ryan Smith

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