Sally Hughes is on course for a rewarding career with Tata Steel in Port Talbot and hopes to inspire other young women to follow a science career pathway.
The only female in a group of technical apprentices recruited by the company in Port Talbot in September, 2016, she says it has not been easy to be successful within a male dominated environment.
However, the 19-year-old from Port Talbot is determined to reach her full potential by embracing all opportunities available to her.
Rewarding her determination, Sally has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. She will be competing to become Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.
The annual awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship Programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are supported by media partner, Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Thirty star employers, learners and learning providers from across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Having had a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school, Sally has achieved an Apprenticeship in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (Industrial Science) alongside a BTEC National Diploma in Applied Science at Gower College Swansea.
She now plans to progress to a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) with a HNC in Applied Chemistry followed by a degree programme at Swansea University.
In June, Sally was chosen to complete an Erasmus+ programme by visiting a Tata Steel works in Holland to compare Apprenticeship Programmes and analyse working practices in both countries with the aim of sharing best practice.
Working in different laboratories and teams across Tata Steel, she has contributed towards important projects, including producing an evaluation report prior to investment in measuring rods and lasers to improve the reliability of a sampling process.
“I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to follow my passion for science, working for such a diverse organisation within an industry which benefits all parts of society,” said Sally. “I have high aspirations and will commit all I have to reach my potential.”
Matthew Davies, Tata Steel’s technical training advisor for learning and development, predicted a bright future for Sally, saying she always looked to challenge herself beyond the standard training plan.
Congratulating Sally on being shortlisted for an award, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said:
“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcase the success of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes and the achievements of our star apprentices, employers, learning providers and trainees.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for individuals to gain valuable skills and experience while earning a wage and for employers to ensure their workforce has the skills to future proof a business.
“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales have never been more important.”