Celebrating the Achievements of Our Brightest Apprentices; HOPEFULS SHORTLISTED FOR AWARDS ARE NAMED

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Byline: RHODRI EVANS Assistant Business Editor

TALENTED apprentices, trainees and learners from across Wales are in the running for national awards.

Fifteen learners have been have been shortlisted across five categories at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The categories are: Apprentice and Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year, Foundation Apprentice of the Year, Steps to Employment Learner of the Year and Traineeships Learners of the Year.

The awards, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales, recognise outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in apprenticeships across Wales. Winners will be announced at a ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on Wednesday, October 24, where the winners of the National Training Awards for Wales will also be recognised.

The finalists in the Apprentice and Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year category are: | Bryn Arfon Jones, 21, who works at Wylfa Power Station on Anglesey. He's also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador, visiting local schools to encourage children to consider careers in these areas: | Steven Owen who's making a name for himself as head chef at The Bull and Heifer, Bettws Cedewain, near Newtown, with customers booking well in advance to sample his cooking; | Rhian Perrin, 21, from Coedpoeth, Wrexham, now a women into engineering role model having completed her Higher Engineering Apprenticeship with Airbus UK in Broughton; | Gavin Zembrzuski, 23, from Howey, near Llandrindod Wells. He overcame dyslexia to achieve an apprenticeship in fabrication and welding and has now set up a successful business selling products across the UK and exporting to Europe.

Finalists in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category are: | Ben Williams from Llanfairfechan, a 20-year-old greenkeeper at North Wales Golf Club in Llandudno, described by his assessor as one of the best students she has ever worked with; | Hairdresser Nik Petrakis, who left school with no qualifications at the age of just 13. Today, after a successful apprenticeship and a year working in Florida, he runs his own hairdressing salon called Nickymichaels in Cyncoed, Cardiff, and | Ryan McAnerney, 20, from Saltney Ferry, Flintshire, an aeronautical engineering craft apprentice with Airbus UK in Broughton who aims to become a qualified aircraft fitter by September 2014. …