Just a month after starting a Higher Apprenticeship, Lee Price had to deal with the devastating death of Rob, her husband of 36 years.
Support from her colleagues, employer, training provider and family encouraged her to continue training and she completed the qualification nine months ahead of schedule despite being short-staffed at work.
Now Lee is in line for national recognition after being shortlisted for the Higher Apprentice of the Year Award at next month’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.
Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.
The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
“Losing my husband is devastating and I’ve found it hard to just to come to work sometimes,” said Lee, 59, who lives in Rhayader. “But knowing that he was hugely supportive of my learning and pleased that I was pushing myself to gain qualifications has kept me going through the hardest times and given me a new focus and purpose in life.”
As Powys County Council’s Senior Quality and Environmental Standards Officer, she works closely with the county’s waste and recycling team as well as Ceredigion’s waste transfer team, ensuring that all services run smoothly and operate lawfully and safely.
She completed the Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Systems and Operations Management through learning provider Cambrian Training, having previously achieved ILM Level 5 Leadership and Development, IOSH Managing Safely and CITB SMTS qualifications.
She was also Lead Auditor in achieving the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BS OHSAS 18001 standards.
“My higher apprenticeship has hugely improved my confidence and self-belief and increased my industry knowledge of recycling to allow me to carry out my role with greater assurance and confidence,” added Lee, who is keen to progress her learning.
“I am a huge ambassador for apprenticeships and believe they can transform your knowledge, ability, skills and view on life.”
Ian Harris, Powys County Council’s recently retired Operations Manager for Recycling and Waste Collection Services, who worked with Lee whilst she was training, praised her “remarkable achievement” in completing her qualification nine months early.
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Lee and all the other shortlisted finalists.
“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.
“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”
Lee Price with work colleague Nigel Hicks, Supervisor at Powys County Council’s Rhayader Depot and Training Officer Jay Syrett-Judd from Cambrian Training.