A Sheffield apprentice was invited to 10 Downing Street for a special event to celebrate the value of on-the-job training.
Kairon Flowers, who works for Sheffield-based Interserve Learning and Employment, joined nine other apprentices at the Prime Minister's residence during National Apprenticeship Week earlier this month.
Minister for skills Robert Halfon was one of several dignitaries to welcome Kairon and celebrate the success of apprenticeships over the past 10 years.
Kairon, now 19, left school at 16 with seven GCSEs and a BTEC qualification. She tried sixth form but left after a couple of months, unsure of her long-term prospects but keen to start earning.
She started working part-time and stumbled across a bid co-ordinator apprenticeship at Interserve, with a level 3 qualification. Her application was successful and she has not looked back, winning the Yorkshire and the Humber Advanced Apprentice of the year award from the National Apprenticeship Service.
Kairon’s line manager Emma Phillips said: “Kairon embodies our organisational values and has a truly professional approach to supporting and co-ordinating bid activities, taking ownership of key tasks and understanding how to resolve any emerging issues.
"Kairon has a professional attitude and has brought with her excellent organisational skills. She has carved out her own areas of expertise.
"As an organisation, we absolutely value the importance of apprenticeships and of giving young people an opportunity to gain valuable work experience”.
Kairon added: “I was worried about leaving my secure job, but the apprenticeship offered me so much more – I could gain qualifications, vital experience and get paid.
"And, what was really important to me was that there was clear progression with the company, I knew that with hard work I would move up the career ladder quickly”
Johnston Press titles in South Yorkshire and the North Midlands, including The Star and the Doncaster Free Press have launched an awards scheme to recognise the increasing value of apprenticeships to the success of the region.
Interserve is one of the award sponsors.
For more details, including online entry form and criteria for each category, visit nmsyapprenticeshipawards.com.
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