Zoe Batten knew university was not going to be for her. She soon realised that an Apprenticeship was the perfect answer, providing real work while learning and gaining qualifications to support her progression through her employment.
Now Zoe, 21, a Coleg y Cymoedd apprentice for British Airways Avionic Engineering, Talbot Green, is in contention to win a major award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
She is one of four finalists shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Zoe, lives in Cilfynydd, Pontypridd, has successfully completed a Level 3 Pathways to Apprenticeship in Engineering (Wales) at BAAE in June, achieving the highest grade in addition to a range of other qualifications. Her Apprenticeship was delivered by learning provider, Coleg y Cymoedd.
From an early stage, shy Zoe took to the role and was appointed the principal point of contact between BAAE and apprentices on her course. “This enabled me to earn the trust and respect of fellow apprentices by listening and collating feedback and professionally delivering it to BAAE,” said Zoe.
In the first year of the Apprenticeship she finished with an overall distinction and was named student of the year. During the second year, she was rotated around different areas of BAAE to provide a good understanding of the business, enabling her confidence to grow.
“In the third year, I consistently completed my work to a high standard, meeting all deadlines ahead of schedule,” added Zoe. “There’s no doubt that without the opportunity to undertake an Apprenticeship I would not be in the position I am in today.
“It has provided me with a unique experience of working in a very skilled and technical industry. It has also put me on a career path that I’m not only enjoying, but provides far more opportunities for training, development and promotion than I would have had through any other route into work.”
Brian Parcell, head of operations at BAAE, said: “Zoe has worked tirelessly for the duration of her Apprenticeship to become an exemplary ambassador not only for BAAE, but for the Apprenticeship programme in Wales.”
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Zoe and the other 36 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as Apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.”