Apprentice of the Year: Havelock apprentice triumphs at Ealing awards ceremony

Samantha Smith won Apprentice of the Year at the Ealing Apprenticeship Network Awards Ceremony last Thursday (1 November).

Sam, who has previously worked as a tiler, became an apprentice after visiting an open day held by Catalyst Gateway. She is currently working for Screed Force Ltd who are a dry lining and screeding company contracted to work on the regeneration of Havelock Estate.

Sam is also working towards an NVQ Level 2 Dry-Lining Apprenticeship at West London Construction Academy.

A Southall local, her new role allows her to work closer to home and the early finish means she can spend more time with her two children. Sam is proud of her community and wants to know that her work will help improve the neighbourhood in the long term.

Sam said, ‘I would like to give special thanks to Catalyst who connected me to the apprenticeship opportunity. I met the Catalyst Employment & Skills team at a job-fair and started my career journey from there.

I would recommend doing an apprenticeship to everyone, regardless of age or gender. Because no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to learn a new trade.’

Sam’s win at the awards ceremony comes as no surprise to her college mentors, colleagues on site and Gateway team.

Neda Haghshenas, Apprenticeship and Skills Project Coordinator, and Luciana Buzak, Employment and Skills Manager said: ‘We are so pleased that Sam’s hard work and dedication has been recognised by winning Ealing’s Apprentice of the Year. Sam is a hardworking, single mother of two who dedicates herself to her studies and exceeds in all that she does. Well done, Sam!’

Sam has also taken part in community action days, helping refurbish the local community centre and showing young children how to use the tools she needs to do her job. She is keen to encourage more women to join the construction industry: ‘I would like to encourage more women into construction and not to be put off by craft trades as there’s hundreds of roles for women in the industry.

‘Every day is different and I love working a construction site, seeing all the stages of the building process. My goal is to work my way up and progress into a managerial role.’

If you are looking for work, planning to return to work after a career break, or if you would like to improve
your skills and qualifications please call: 07815 633 129 or email: neda.haghshenas@chg.org.uk