A TEENAGER who moved to Blaenavon from Botswana has set her sights on a teaching career after winning at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Jessica Apps, 19, from Forgeside, was turned down by colleges, despite arriving in Wales with GCSE equivalent grades.

However, after joining a traineeship creative engagement programme with Sgiliau Cyf, she was soon accepted into Coleg Gwent, where she is currently studying A levels in sociology, photography and literature.


Miss Apps said the traineeship - through which she also achieved a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award - helped develop her passion for photography and creative writing, and restored her confidence after being turned down by colleges.

She now hopes to go on to university to study sociology and become a teacher.

And at a virtual ceremony, Miss Apps was named Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.

“This award means so much to me. I was so nervous before moving to Wales and wondered if I was doing the right thing. The award shows me that I am doing something right," she said.

“Sgiliau Cyf and my family have provided me with the support and motivation to be the best that I can be.

"Doing a traineeship was definitely worthwhile, as it changed my whole life here in Wales and I am now looking forward to starting university in September.”

Miss Apps, who moved to Wales with her mum and younger sister, said she wants to continue volunteering with Sgiliau Cyf, to help other young people who feel disengaged from employment and learning as she once did.

"I can’t thank Sgiliau enough for helping me grow into who I am today,” she said.

"I have always wanted to help people and I really enjoy volunteering with the company, which has encouraged me to want to be a teacher.”