Shannon’s natural talent shines through
A young Cardiff woman has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award and discovered an untapped talent for hairdressing.
Shannon Mason, 17, is one of 36 finalists in 13 categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). She is shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year Engagement 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.
The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 18.
Shannon is training to be a hairdresser at a busy Cardiff hair salon, something she couldn’t have imagined when she left school. With no idea what she wanted to do, she started a traineeship engagement programme with ACT Training.
“The course involved tasters in different types of work, which was ideal for me,” she said. “I really enjoyed the hairdressing course. I’d always enjoyed doing my own hair, but I’d never even thought about it as a career.”
As well as allowing Shannon to display a natural flair for hairdressing, the traineeship also helped develop her confidence and improve her communication skills.
She went on work placement at Lacey and Co in Fairwater, where she is now working on her Level 2 qualification in hairdressing.
“I never thought I could have a job that I enjoy so much,” said Shannon. “The traineeship helped me a lot. As well as the practical hairdressing skills, it was good to improve my confidence. I am much more chatty now which really helps with my work.
“I was shocked to hear that I had been shortlisted for an award but I’m very happy and proud.”
Susan Pope from ACT Training said: “Shannon has developed a really positive attitude and has overcome many barriers to exceed her own expectations. She is always polite, approachable and eager to succeed. Shannon is a committed learner and well liked by her peers.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru remind us of the incredible wealth of talent that Wales has to offer and the outstanding achievements of Wales’ learners, employers and learning providers.
“Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. Not only do they provide essential skills and qualifications, but are in themselves life-changing opportunities for young people and, for employers, a major investment that’s paying real dividend to their bottom line and in the skills of their workforce.
“We know that apprenticeships deliver real business benefits and that’s why the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund, continues to invest heavily in opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and continues to support employers who want to invest in the future of their workforce.
“Through their passion and dedication, the finalists announced at this year’s awards will inspire countless others to strive for excellence and demonstrate the tremendous impact that vocational training can have. I wish all of our finalists the very best as they continue to make great contributions in their chosen fields.”
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.
More than 300 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 Welsh National Culinary Team.