A young South Wales woman, who has demonstrated that future career prospects are not necessarily defined by school examination success, has won a coveted national award.
Stella Vasiliou, 19, from Barry, won the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1) at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.
She said: “I have achieved something that will help me to get where I need to be in my life. It’s something that will always be mine and a reward for all the work I have done.”
Richard Spear, managing director of ACT Training, sponsor of both Traineeship awards, said: “We are proud to be associated with these awards which recognise absolutely inspirational young people with massive potential at the start of their careers.”
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.
Stella is crafting a promising career as a carpenter with The Vale of Glamorgan Council having initially explored other learning avenues.
Leaving school with Cooking and 3D Art qualifications, she was encouraged to study art and design at Cardiff and Vale College but, after a year, decided the course was not for her.
Through training provider ACT Limited, she discovered a range of career options that she previously didn’t know existed, as well as a passion for construction which stemmed from helping her father, an electrician, during school holidays.
Determined to succeed in a male dominated sector, Stella completed a Level 1 Traineeship in Construction within just seven months. She made such a good impression during a work placement at The Vale of Glamorgan Council that she was offered an Apprenticeship in Carpentry, delivered by Cardiff and Vale College.
“I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am,” said Stella. “Yes, I have taken a bit of a diversion to get here, but I wouldn’t change it. I have finally found something that I enjoy and I’m good at and I would like to prove to others who are leaving school that grades aren’t everything. You can be successful in other ways.”
Jayne McGill-Harris, ACT Limited’s senior marketing and PR manager, described
Stella as “a real inspiration” who has a wise head on young shoulders.
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan congratulated Stella together with the other award winners and finalists for setting the gold standard for Apprenticeships and Traineeships. She applauded her commitment to the Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes in Wales.
“The Welsh Government regards Apprenticeships as a priority area and, with support from the European Social Fund, has committed to creating a minimum of 100,000 high quality all-age Apprenticeships over this Assembly term,” she said.
“We have a clear vision for addressing the needs of Welsh businesses, developing skills pathways and increasing higher level skills that benefit the whole of Wales. If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow, then we must work together to equip Wales with a world class workforce.”