Hard work pays off as Barry Mum wins national award

Posted on by karen.smith

Nicola Sanigar with her Employability Steps to Employment Learner of the Year award.

A mum-of-four from Barry, who left school at 15 and dreams one day of owning her own children’s nursery, has won a prestigious national award.

Nicola Sanigar, 35, was named the Employability Steps to Employment Learner of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). The high profile awards ceremony was held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.

“I am totally shocked,” said Nicola. “This award means the world to me and my children will be so proud. I am currently doing a level three qualification and I plan to keep on going until one day I own my own nursery.”

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

Nicola, who left school without any qualifications, has passed her childcare qualifications and secured a job at a nursery. She had not been in paid employment before and her only experience had been raising her own children, aged nine to 17.

“I really wanted a job and I knew I wanted to work with children,” she said. “I started by volunteering at a playgroup run by a friend and really enjoyed it, but I knew that I needed to get some qualifications before I could secure paid work.”

Her local Job Centre encouraged her to contact TSW Training and she joined its Steps to Employment course, working towards Children’s Care Learning and Development Level 2.

During training Nicola showed excellent skills and commitment and received very positive feedback from a placement at a local nursery.

There was a setback half-way through her training, when the nursery she volunteered at closed. Nicola was disappointed as she’d hoped to work there after qualifying, but she didn’t let it stop her.

She completed the course and found herself a job at Daisy Day Nursery. She is now working towards Children’s Care Learning and Development Level 3.

“I’ve worked very hard to develop myself and provide a better life for my children,” she said. “I’m so much more confident and I have a job I really enjoy.”

Lisa Hayden from TSW Training said: “Nicola has been an outstanding learner, and still is. She is also an excellent role model.”

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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