Nik aims to be an inspiration to young hairdressers

Posted on by karen.smith

Vocational training has paved the way to a successful career involving international travel for a young Welsh hairdresser who left school with no qualifications at the age of just 13.

Now Nik Petrakis, 26, from Cardiff, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award. He is one of 28 finalists in nine categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality Apprenticeships across Wales. Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes in Wales are part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

The winners will be announced at a high profile awards presentation ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, October 24, where the winners of the National Training Awards for Wales will also be recognised. The joint awards which will be attended by around 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Sponsor of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and media partner is Media Wales.

Nik, a Foundation Apprentice of the Year finalist, confesses to going “off the rails” when his father died during his first year in secondary school, which agreed that it was in his best interests to start full-time vocational training as a hairdresser.

Bridgend-based training provider ISA Training has guided Nik every step of the way. He achieved hairdressing qualification by the age of 16 and went on to complete a Foundation Apprenticeship.

At 19, he moved to London to train with Steiner Cruise Liners and made Long Beach, Florida his base for 12 months before returning to Cardiff, where he joined The Vanilla Rooms and completed an Apprenticeship in Hairdressing.

With nearly 13 years of experience under his belt and having achieved the A1 Assessors Award and a Foundation Apprenticeship in team leading, he has recently set up his own salon called ‘nickymichaels’ in Cyncoed, Cardiff with partner Michael Howard.

His next targets are a Level 2 Diploma in Beauty Therapy and an Apprenticeship in First Line Management.

“I started hairdressing with no education, just the talent I knew was within me,” he said. “Over 12 years, I have constantly improved myself through vocational learning. I am a positive example to the next generation, I want to inspire them with my story and winning this award would help share my story.”

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “These awards recognise excellence by individuals, employers and learning providers in delivering training. I am delighted with the standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of the skills being delivered in Wales.

“All the finalists have an inspiring story to tell and are great ambassadors for apprenticeship and other programmes in Wales.

“The skills acquired through programmes, such as Apprenticeships, provide great benefits to individuals and employers, helping make Welsh businesses more competitive.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continuing to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places.”

The NTfW is a network 116 quality assured work based training providers with links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

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