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Apr 2024 / Learners News

A higher apprentice, who has gained her qualifications with training provider ACT, has impressed the judges of the Apprenticeship Awards with her incredible story of resilience and determination.

Jessica Williams has been named Higher Apprentice of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024.

Jessica has recently completed her Level 5 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development, Leadership and Management and has credited the qualification as giving her ‘the encouragement to flourish’.

Despite her successes, Jessica has had to contend with a traumatic event that disrupted not only her work and education but also her personal life.

In 2020 a freak gas explosion flattened her home, causing life-changing injuries including loss of mobility in her hands and a loss of hearing. Due to this, she had to contend with months of recuperation including operations and multiple treatments.

Despite these hardships and hurdles, Jessica was keen to pick up where she left off and continued to work towards her qualification as well as become an inspiring preschool leader at Ser Bach y Cwm in Ystradgynlais.

“I have gone from being critically ill and fighting for my life to, now, a successful preschool leader. It is incredible, but my journey has not been an easy one,” Jessica said.

Now empowering colleagues and improving the teamwork culture, Jessica has secured around £20,000 to improve facilities at the Ysgol Golwg y Cwm setting.

CCLD assessor at ACT, Nia Allan, said: “Jess’ commitment to learning is highly commendable and I have never come across someone so determined to complete the programme.  Despite the trauma and life changing events her and her family experienced, and the aftermath she had to deal with, she was extremely flexible, adaptive, and so conscientious – and I am so proud of her.”

Judith Hickey, Headteacher at Ysgol Golwg Y Cwm, added: “Jessica is undoubtedly one in a million; a young lady who through the most difficult of times has managed to overcome barriers and challenges and undertake an apprenticeship to improve her professional knowledge and skills for the benefit of others.”