Award double for inspirational Cardiff hairdresser

Posted on by karen.smith

Nick Petrakis with the Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year award

Welsh hairdressing entrepreneur Nick Petrakis, whose inspirational story helped him become Foundation Apprentice of the Year in 2012, has added another national award to his list of honours.

This time, Nick, 27, co-owner of ‘nickymichaels’ salon in Cardiff, won the Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year at the at Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). The high profile award ceremony was held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.

“Absolutely amazing,” was Nick’s reaction to winning the award. “I want to be role model for the next generation to show that anything is possible if you work hard. I am very proud of this award, which I think is an even greater achievement than last year.”

He added that he was also delighted that his training provider, ISA Training of Bridgend, had also won the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award.

The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes across Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.

Vocational training has paved the way to a successful career, which has involved international travel for Nick, who has now realised a lifetime ambition to open his own salon.

Having left school with no qualifications at the age of 13 when his father died, he started full-time vocational training as a hairdresser with ISA Training, who have guided him every step of the way.

He achieved hairdressing qualification by the age of 16 and has completed Foundation Apprenticeships in hairdressing and beauty and achieved the A1 Assessors Award. Next up, to support his business, is a NVQ level four in management.

Having worked in London and Florida, he established ‘nickymichaels’ with partner Michael Howard last October and business is booming. They now employ five staff and plan to double the size of the salon to create 12 work stations and a beauty room to meet customer demand.

“Having been hairdressing for 15 years, I have constantly improved through vocational training and this has allowed me to create my dream salon,” explained Nick.

“It has been amazing time since opening the salon and I haven’t looked back as the business has evolved quickly. I believe I am a positive example of entrepreneurial success through vocational training and I would be honoured to continue to be an ambassador for apprenticeships to inspire and motivate others.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards allow us to celebrate the range of skills that our young people have to offer as well as the dedication shown by employers and training providers and I’d like to congratulate all of the worthy winners.

“It was a real pleasure to meet such hard-working and ambitious young people who have all achieved so much, as well as the employers and training providers who have gone that extra mile in supporting young people to fulfil their potential. They are all a credit to themselves and an inspiration to others.

“Our recent budget announcement has confirmed an additional £12.5 million to extend our Jobs Growth Wales programme for a fourth year. This means that we can create more than 4,000 extra job opportunities for 16-24 year olds in 2015-16. The Welsh Government will also be investing a further £20 million in 2015-16 to support apprenticeships. This is excellent news for our young people and our employers and will allow us to make a real difference.”

Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales. Award Sponsors are Leadership & Management Wales and ACT Training.

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