A love of art at school is leading 18-year-old Shannon Harding, from Merthyr Tydfil, towards success in her chosen career as a painter and decorator.
It has been a difficult road for Shannon to follow; moving from care and the support of a social worker, through the wrong choice of college course in health and beauty, and long-term, ongoing bouts of anxiety and depression.
But through training provider PeoplePlus Cymru – Merthyr Tydfil Centre, Shannon has discovered training that recognises her difficulties and has helped her grow her skill sets and confidence.
Now Shannon has been shortlisted for the Traineeships Learner of the Year (Level 1) Award at next week’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.
Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.
The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Shannon’s Traineeship Level 1 course has included modules in Workplace Hazard Awareness, Award in Employability, Essential Skills for Work and Life and Level 1 H&S Construction Environment.
All these qualifications were tailored to help Shannon towards work placements and, ultimately, employment. She has enjoyed a placement at Cbd Decorators, Merthyr Tydfil, which has given her a taste of the painting and decorating trade.
PeoplePlus Manager Joanne Southall added:
“Shannon has day-to-day difficulties, but she never gives up, is very talented, polite and the hardest working person I’ve ever seen.
“She lights up a room and deserves the very best. I know Shannon will go a long way and we will always be there with support.”
“I have learnt so much under the guidance of PeoplePlus. I still have days when my anxiety and depression kick in but getting out of the house every day makes it easier.
“I love painting and decorating and would like to do an apprenticeship and be self-employed one day. That would be my dream.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Shannon and all the other shortlisted finalists.
“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.
“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”