Lee Price has been honoured with a national award for her dedication to learning after her late husband inspired her to complete a higher apprenticeship nine months early.
Lee, 59, from Rhayader, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in traineeships and apprenticeships, held at the International Convention Centre Wales, Newport.
An emotional Lee, who is Powys County Council’s Senior Quality and Environmental Standards Officer, dedicated the award to her late husband Rob and her late mother, who passed away earlier this year.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed,” she said. “I didn’t think for a minute that I would win this award due to the quality of the competition I was up against. I was just happy to be a finalist. Thank you to Cambrian Training and my former boss Ian Harris for their support.”
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 had 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.
Support from her colleagues, employer, training provider and family encouraged Lee to continue training after the loss of her husband of 36 years, Rob, just a month after she had started the higher apprenticeship.
“Losing my husband is devastating and I’ve found it hard to just to come to work sometimes,” said Lee. “But knowing that he was hugely supportive of my learning and pleased that I was pushing myself to gain qualifications has kept me going through the hardest times and given me a new focus and purpose in life.”
Lee works closely with the waste and recycling team in Powys as well as Ceredigion’s waste transfer team, ensuring that all services run smoothly and operate lawfully and safely.
She completed the Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Systems and Operations Management through learning provider Cambrian Training, having previously achieved ILM Level 5 Leadership and Development, IOSH Managing Safely and CITB SMTS qualifications.
She was also Lead Auditor in achieving the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BS OHSAS 18001 standards.
“My higher apprenticeship has hugely improved my confidence and self-belief and increased my industry knowledge of recycling to allow me to carry out my role with greater assurance and confidence,” added Lee, who is keen to progress her learning.
“I am a huge ambassador for apprenticeships and believe they can transform your knowledge, ability, skills and view on life.”
Congratulating Lee, Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, said:
“The Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills, knowledge and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need.
“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. Each one has played a vital role in setting the standard for vocational training and this is to be applauded.
“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales has never been more important.”