Barry mum of four shortlisted for national award
6:02pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
MUM-OF-FOUR from Barry who left school at 15 has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Nicola Sanigar 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 Employability Steps to Employment Learner of the Year award.
Nicola, 35, who left school without any qualifications, has passed her childcare qualifications and secured a job at a nursery. She had not been in paid employment before and her only experience had been raising her own children, aged nine to 17.
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.
"I really wanted a job and I knew I wanted to work with children," she said. "I started by volunteering at a playgroup run by a friend and really enjoyed it, but I knew that I needed to get some qualifications before I could secure paid work."
Her local Job Centre encouraged her to contact TSW Training and she joined its Steps to Employment course, working towards Children's Care Learning and Development Level 2.
During training Nicola showed excellent skills and commitment and received very positive feedback from a placement at a local nursery.
There was a setback half-way through her training, when the nursery she volunteered at closed. Nicola was disappointed as she'd hoped to work there after qualifying, but she didn't let it stop her.
She completed the course and found herself a job at Daisy Day Nursery. She is now working towards Children's Care Learning and Development Level 3.
"I’m really happy to have been nominated,” she said. “I’ve worked very hard to develop myself and provide a better life for my children. I’m so much more confident and I have a job I really enjoy."
Lisa Hayden from TSW Training said: “Nicola has been an outstanding learner, and still is. She is also an excellent role model.”
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."
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.