APPRENTICESHIP success stories have been celebrated at a high profile awards ceremony.
Apprenticeship Awards Cymru brought together the cream of learners, employers and training providers across Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.
The awards are designed to reward those who have shown dedication and commitment to skills development and business improvement.
Broughton-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus was one of the biggest winners, scooping two awards at the ceremony.
They won the Macro Employer of the Year and employee Alex Birbeck, 21, collected the Higher Apprentice of the Year award.
The business employs 350 apprentices and the apprenticeship programme at Airbus is the cornerstone of its skills strategy
Alex, from Buckley, has recently completed a higher apprenticeship in engineering and has set his sights on a degree in aeronautical engineering.
He has made personal contributions to projects such as long range design, where an engineering solution was needed on an A330 aircraft wing set.
Meanwhile the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award went to Paula Blundell, 40, a mother-of-one from Bryn-y-Baal, near Mold, who has proved it is never too late to learn.
She works as a teaching assistant and midday supervisor at Ysgol Mynydd Isa and says completing a foundation apprenticeship has opened up a new world.
The awards were organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, said: "The Apprenticeship Awards allow us to celebrate the range of skills that our young people have to offer as well as the dedication shown by employers and training providers and I’d like to congratulate all of the worthy winners.
“It was a real pleasure to meet such hard-working and ambitious young people who have all achieved so much, as well as the employers and training providers who have go that extra mile in supporting young people to fulfil their potential.
“They are all a credit to themselves and an inspiration to others.”
Arwyn Watkins, NTfW chief executive, said: “The award winners and finalists are excellent examples of a partnership approach to skills development in Wales by employers, apprentices, training providers and the Welsh Government working together to deliver a high quality workforce.”