Outstanding achievers Ricky and Helen shortlisted for national award
Two employees of Swansea-based companies are vying for the title of Jobs Growth Wales Outstanding Achiever of the Year.
Ricky Owen, 26, from Morriston and Helen Brickley from Blackwood have been shortlisted for the award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014. They will join 34 other finalists in 13 categories at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 31.
The awards are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales by learners, employers and learning providers, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.
The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training. They are also a great way to evaluate training and development, as well as a fantastic motivational factor for any workforce or learner.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
After more than a year unemployed, Ricky jumped at the opportunity of training with Swansea firm Hydra Technologies Ltd and has not looked back. Having been recruited on the Jobs Growth Wales programme, he has progressed through a Foundation Apprenticeship in Manufacturing and Operations.
From having basic office administration skills, he has now developed new skills in manufacturing including checking raw materials on delivery, making up products, filling containers for orders, packing and despatching, sample testing and ordering.
His enthusiasm, dedication and commitment are evident; he is one of the first to work in the morning and stays late when necessary.
Ricky said: “This programme has turned my life around. Having struggled to find work for so long, I knew I had to give this everything I had. I have improved all my key skill areas and enjoy working as part of a team.”
Helen turned to Jobs Growth Wales after finding it difficult to get her foot on the careers ladder despite her degree in textiles.
Welsh fashion shop chain Goose Island, through learning provider Talk Training Ltd, took on Helen in October 2013 as a fashion administrator with responsibilities for tracking online sales and updating the website.
A year on, she is a full time employee working towards an NVQ in Business Administration Level 3 and completes a daily 80-mile round trip to work from her home to Swansea.
Grateful for the Jobs Growth Wales opportunity, she has taken the company’s online sales from an average £150 a month to £7,000 and is now part of buying trips to London and Italy for the online and stores’ fashion lines.
“The Jobs Growth Wales opportunity has given me the chance to broaden my skills from administration and invoicing to expressing my passion for fashion, meeting with buyers and applying my design knowledge to the job,” she said.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “Vocational training provides learners with the skills, qualifications and experience they need whilst helping our businesses to grow. These awards are a chance for us to recognise the wealth of talent we have in Wales.
“I’d like to wish Ricky and Helen all the very best of luck at the Apprenticeship Awards.”
More than 400 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Culinary Team Wales.
Ricky Owen – Jobs Growth Wales has turned his life around.
Helen Brickley – Jobs Growth Wales has opened a door to a fashion industry career.