Apprentice Stevie Williams from NPTC Group of Colleges swapped her job in customer services to pursue her dream career in engineering, and has now been shortlisted for the Foundation Apprentice of the Year Award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.
‘’Complete and utter shock and amazement’’ was Stevie’s response to finding out she had made the shortlist. ‘’It’s the icing on the cake for all the hard work and dedication I have put in, not just for me, its recognition for my colleagues and mentors too, as it goes to show what you can achieve with the right support.’’
Stevie, 36, from Goytre, Port Talbot, left school at 16 and went straight into customer service. Since then, Stevie had a variety of jobs, but always aspired to be a teacher. She was lucky enough to have an opportunity within the central engineering workshops at TATA Steel, and that’s where her love of engineering was sparked.
Since starting her apprenticeship she has secured a job as a mechanical engineering technician and instructor at Neath College after completing both a Level 2 Mechanical Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship and Vocationally-Related Qualification (VRQ), six months early.
She is now working towards an Apprenticeship and VRQ Level 3, with plans to progress to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Degree Apprenticeship in order to fulfil her ambition of becoming an engineering lecturer.
Mother of two Stevie said she wanted a qualification that was hands-on, but allowed her to earn as she learnt in order to support her family right the way through. An apprenticeship was the ideal solution.
“I have a keen interest in engineering and enjoy being hands-on but have always wanted to go into teaching, so an apprenticeship with NPTC Group of Colleges was perfect for me,” she added.
“I am now in a secure position in a career with amazing prospects, all of which would not have been possible without the apprenticeship and support of colleagues. I hope to inspire my students through my own success story.”
Her apprenticeship is delivered by Pathways Training, the work-based training department at NPTC Group of Colleges where mechanical engineering assessor and advisor, Lee Hughes, describes her as a “dream apprentice”. He says her enthusiasm, dedication and maturity are rubbing off on other apprentices and students.
“Stevie has set the benchmark for others to follow and her fellow learners respect her role as an instructor,” he said. “It is lovely to see her progression and how she deals with all the work.”
The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021 is a celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships and will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.
The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.