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Sally's story

Apprentice Sally standing outside Tata Steel

20-year-old, Sally Hughes, from Port Talbot has credited her apprenticeship for landing her dream job as a laboratory technician at Tata Steel. Sally won the Apprentice of the Year Award, at the Welsh Government Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2018.

From apprentice to a qualified Laboratory technician 

After four years of working towards a higher apprenticeship (level 4) with a HNC in Applied Chemistry, Sally has now been made a full-time team member at the steel works, based in Port Talbot. 

Sally said: “I always enjoyed science-based subjects in school and so looked into ways to get a career with a science background. I presumed college was the only option when I left school. It wasn’t until my father told me about an apprenticeship at Tata Steel, that I realised I could start working in a field I was passionate about, while working towards a qualification. It was perfect.

“As an apprentice I was on rotation across all seven laboratories and I was given the opportunity to learn many different skills, working across different teams. It helped me develop transferable skills that I have brought with me to my role.

Gaining a degree through an apprenticeship 

“I really enjoyed my apprenticeship and the opportunity it’s given me in life.  My goal now is to work hard and I hope to complete a degree apprenticeship and maybe even a PhD.”

Mathew Davies, Technical Training Advisor at Tata Steel said: “We actively recruit apprentices as it's difficult to find the talent we require in this complex industry. Our apprenticeship programmes ensure that we have a ready-made talent pool we can take up through the ranks to senior operator roles and team leaders.”


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