Learners recognized at awards ceremony

West Midlands youngsters celebrated for chasing dreams.

Inspirational young people from the West Midlands who have transformed their lives, achieved qualifications and taken their first steps on the career ladder were recognised at a special awards ceremony held by national independent training provider, Skills Training UK.

Around 150 people gathered at the Quality Hotel in Dudley for the biannual West Midlands Celebration of Success event where learners aged 16-24 were honoured with awards and certificates to mark their hard work and progression on Skills Training UK’s Traineeship programmes and vocational BTEC courses. Learners received their awards in front of family, friends and Skills Training UK tutors, as well as representatives from local employers, further education institutions, Jobcentre Plus and other partner organisations.

Many of the young people at Skills Training UK have struggled at school or overcome personal challenges to succeed, such as 20-year-old Zakariye Kulmiya who was supported to achieve a maths qualification to realise his dream of working in IT. The Wolverhampton Academy learner achieved Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in maths before landing an IT Apprenticeship with Digital Marketing Solutions in Small Heath. Zakariya was presented with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Maths Award at the Celebration Event.

Zakariye said: “This has been the best year of my life. At school, I messed about and didn’t pay attention, and was really quite down before joining Skills Training UK. But I’ve achieved industry-recognised qualifications, improved my confidence, and I’m now ready to pursue a career in software engineering. Skills Training UK have been amazing and I’d recommend them to other young people who are getting down on themselves and need some help.”

Learners at Skills Training UK are supported to complete work placements with local employers, and qualifications in English and maths, but they also dramatically improve their personal skills such as confidence and communication, allowing them to progress into employment, further education or an Apprenticeship.

In emotional scenes at the event on Friday 17th May, Dudley learner Chelsea Lovekin won an Outstanding Achievement Award. Chelsea, aged 18, was too tearful to talk but award presenter Denise Ann Jones praised her “inspirational” transformation, saying: “Chelsea had been told she wouldn’t amount to anything before joining us. She was crying and shaking on her first day but in just five weeks she has completed qualifications in Customer Service and a 50-hour work placement where she won an employee award. Huge congratulations to Chelsea for all she has achieved so far.”

Other winners included Walsall learner Ebony Alcock who took home an English Award while Birmingham learner Amaan Khan picked up a Maths Award.

The Celebration Event also provided a platform for Dudley learners Reuben Edwards and Le’andre Bell to showcase their singing talents, with Reuben now writing a rap about how his experience at Skills Training UK has turned around his life.

Skills Training UK has Training Centres in Dudley and Walsall which provide vocational BTEC courses for 16-18s, and work-based Traineeship programmes for 16-24s. In Birmingham and Wolverhampton, Skills Training UK has Academies for Business, Industry and Technology which offer Traineeships and Apprenticeships for the next generation of IT and digital media experts.

Stephen Crawley, Chief Operating Officer at Skills Training UK, said: “It was fantastic to see so many 16-24-year olds from the West Midlands receive the recognition they deserve for making huge progress in their lives and for taking their first step on the career ladder.

“Our vision is to invest in the workforce of the West Midlands and improve education and skills within the local economy. That’s why we’re delighted to be able to help young people – whatever their educational experience or socio-economic background – to gain valuable experience in fast-developing sectors and get their career off to the best possible start.

“Thanks to everyone who attended our Celebration of Success event, from our fantastic learners to our vital employer and referral partners.”

To find out more about starting a Traineeship, Apprenticeship or vocational training programme at Skills Training UK, call the Dudley Training Centre on 01384 259 501, Walsall Training Centre on 01922 633 936, Birmingham Academy on 01215 163203, and the Wolverhampton Academy on 01902 837460. Alternatively, visit www.skillstraininguk.com/our-centres for more details.