An engineer from Risca has been named the Apprentice of the Year at the 2019 Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Tata Steel employee Shane Ash, 26, won the award after his work helped his company save more than £22,000 in a major project.
Mr Ash is now in the design phase of installing a robotic arm which will remove impurities from molten zinc – improving the speed and safety of the galvanising line, which is used in steel production.
He is currently working towards a Higher Apprenticeship (Level Four) and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, having gained qualifications from Bridgend College, Coleg Gwent and University of South Wales.
The awards ceremony, which was held at the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport on October 24, saw learners, employers and dedicated learning providers recognised for their achievements.
The awards were organised by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and the Welsh Government, which backs the Apprenticeship programme with support from the European Social Fund.
Mr Ash said: “Winning this award is absolutely brilliant.
“It means a lot to me because it’s recognition for the work I have been doing over the years. I will be able to put this on my CV and people are going to know what I have achieved.”
“I think these awards and the venue are brilliant and it’s great to be part of it.”
Sarah John, NTfW chair, said the 34 finalists were all “fantastic ambassadors” for the Welsh Government’s apprenticeship and traineeship programmes.
“Looking to the future, we shall need to equip employers and employees with the evolving skills needed to face the challenges of automation, artificial intelligence and digitalisation.
“Working closely with the Welsh Government and employers, I am confident that the NTfW will develop and deliver the quality solutions required.”
Speaking at the awards, first minister Mark Drakeford said: “All the winners have set the standard for apprenticeships and traineeships throughout Wales. They are a fantastic showcase for our apprenticeship programme and I have been very impressed by the dedication shown by every one of tonight’s nominees, many of whom have overcome personal adversity.
“The commitment by the employers must also be commended – all have shown how enthusiastic they are about apprenticeships and how important they are to developing a skilled workforce.”