A passion for hairdressing has secured 17-year-old Molly Jones a three-days-a-week job at Hello Gorgeous Hair Salon in Penarth, which she hopes will develop into a Foundation Apprenticeship.
The part-time job is a significant step in Molly’s life, having previously suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and anxiety which led to her leaving mainstream education in Year 8 when she could not leave the house without her mum’s support.
She received out-of-school tuition but didn’t manage to complete her GCSEs. It was only after she joined the Prince’s Trust Team Programme through training provider People Business-Wales that she started to develop her communication skills, helping her to make friends and gain confidence.
She completed the 12-week Team Programme and progressed to Employability Engagement where she achieved Level 2 Essential Skills in Communication and Application of Number and Level 1 in IT Skills.
Her confidence boosted, Molly, from Penarth, now hopes to follow a hairdressing career.
“I’ve always had a passion for hairdressing and thought I’d never get the chance to pursue it, so I’m really looking forward to the job and having the chance to be an apprentice there,” she said.
“It was a big step for me starting somewhere new, but I’m feeling confident about it.”
In recognition of her progress, Molly has been shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) at next month’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.
As part of her Traineeship, Molly enjoyed a placement at Let Them See Cake in Cardiff that particularly helped to grow her confidence and fuel her interest in baking and decorating cakes.
“I plan to continue to bake cakes for my friends and family as it’s something I like to do as a hobby rather than a career,” said Molly.
People Business-Wales Centre Manager Caroline Morris-Hills said:
“Molly doesn’t let her anxiety control her anymore and is driven to be the best she can be.”
“I have overcome a lot of barriers. My Traineeship has helped me become the person I am today. I feel that I have a more mature approach to things that previously would have made me anxious.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Molly 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.”