Awards finalist Cassidy described as “a triumph of human spirit”

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Traineeships Learner of the Year finalist Cassidy Jones training at Coleg Menai's purpose built salon, Bangor

Cassidy Jones has set her sights on a career as a hair stylist. For the 17-year-old who has faced up to immense difficulties in her life, this goal will be an amazing achievement.

Traineeships Learner of the Year finalist Cassidy Jones training at Coleg Menai's purpose built salon, Bangor
Traineeships Learner of the Year finalist Cassidy Jones training at Coleg Menai’s purpose built salon, Bangor

The death of her father when she was young and being bullied at school impacted her academic record.

But she took her interest in salon services at school to the next step through the Traineeship Engagement programme with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai with a Level 1 NVQ certificate and Essential Skills qualifications which has seen her shine on placement at Shades, a small nurturing salon and then with HQ salon in Bangor where she is developing greater skill sets before progressing to a Foundation Apprenticeship.

Now Cassidy, who lives in Bethesda, has been shortlisted for the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes. The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

“I have had to deal with things no other young person should have to face but the Traineeship has made me feel more positive,” said Cassidy. “For many years there were bad things in my life that I wanted to stop. Now I want to move on.”

Cassidy is full of praise for college work placement officer Janice Owen.

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s engagement team leader Eric Christie said: “Working with Cassidy is humbling. She is amazing and has found answers to her problems while remaining calm, polite and hardworking. What a triumph of human spirit.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated Cassidy and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists. “We are proud to be delivering a number of successful vocational training programmes with success rates for apprenticeships in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional learners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their learners.”