Tenacity driving Catherine Grace’s hairdressing dream
Catherine Grace Cox set her heart on becoming a hairdresser as a youngster, often helping out at her aunt’s salon. But her career goal seemed thwarted by severe dyslexia throughout her education which made academic success challenging.
Her first steps into the Traineeship Engagement programme were stalled by her inability to master literacy and numeracy skills and when, in June 2015, she became pregnant, her hairdressing dream went on hold while she coped as a teenage mum.
However, great tenacity and drive saw Catherine Grace, from Bangor, return to the Engagement programme in 2016 through training provider Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and she soon moved on to Level I NVQ in Hairdressing whilst also improving her literacy and numeracy skills.
Now she has been recognised as one of Wales’ star learners by being shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. She will be competing to become Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on October 20.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
Thirty star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of successful skills programmes across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
The awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship programmes.
Catherine Grace, 19, is now working in a salon with a supportive employer who loves her energy and enthusiasm.
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Traineeship Engagement team leader Eric Christie said: “Years of frustration have gone and in return a dynamic, confident and professional learner has been unleashed. Nothing can stop her.”
Catherine Grace said: “The Traineeship has given me the flexibility and time to improve. I feel more confident about my learning, developing skills and employability. I want to go all the way and become a colour technician and I will.”
Praising the standard of applicants this year and congratulating Catherine Grace on being shortlisted for an award, Skills and Science Minister, Julie James said: “This year’s shortlisted entrants include exceptional individuals who have excelled in their workplace and learning providers and employers that have gone the extra mile to support the apprentices they are working with. Their stories never cease to amaze and inspire.
“Apprenticeships and vocational skills training are essential ingredients of economic success and vital tools in building a stronger, fairer and more equal Wales.
“These awards provide a perfect platform to celebrate success and reward the hard work and dedication of learners, employers and training providers across Wales. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the night.”