Apprentice award success for former Sheffield ‘tearaway’

A self-confessed teenage tearaway who turned her life around with an engineering apprenticeship has made the finals of the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 11:47 am
Rebecca Wright with her Royal Navy Award for the Advanced Apprentice of the Year, with Anthony Knowles, head of national accounts (North) at the National Apprenticeship Service, left, and warrant officer Mark Thomas of The Royal Navy.

Ambition, aspiration and confidence were not words that featured frequently in 20-year-old Rebecca Wright’s vocabulary.

But it is those qualities which helped her pass a rigorous judging process to be crowned regional winner.

She was named ‘Advanced Apprentice of the Year’ at the Yorkshire and Humber regional ceremony in Leeds and will now compete for the national award in November.

Rebecca, from Sheffield, is in the second year of a technical support apprenticeship at the AMRC Training Centre.

She is employed by the University of Sheffield AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group, based at Factory 2050.

“I couldn’t quite believe it when I found out,” said Rebecca, who during her school years, was told she would ‘never get anywhere’ looking like she does with her colourful hair and piercings.

“It’s so strange for me being noticed like this because I’m not used to it. I never got on well with education; I got kicked out of a lot of lessons at school and was a bit of a rebel.

“I did go to college to do art and design but that way of learning just wasn’t for me. Then I worked in a chippy, got a job in a shop and a call centre; I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

“It was when I met my boyfriend that things changed. He’d been to the AMRC Training Centre and that’s when I looked into an engineering apprenticeship.”

With support from the training centre, Rebecca secured a place with the Integrated Manufacturing Group at Factory 2050.

“My apprenticeship has changed my life so much,” she said. “The confidence it has given me has made a big difference; my dad said I was always that little girl who was too scared to talk to the shopkeeper and now I’ll talk to anyone.

“My apprenticeship has given me ambition and aspiration and made me realise there’s a lot of opportunities here. I would really like to progress and go on to do a degree.”