Award finalist overcomes adversity to achieve her hairdressing dream

Chelsea Fethney has refused to let serious life challenges stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a qualified member of staff for a Swansea-based hair salon.

The 20-year-old has completed her Foundation Apprenticeship in Hairdressing despite also supporting both her mother and brother through very difficult times from a young age.

Now Chelsea has been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as a finalist in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

It would be easy to make excuses, but determined Chelsea has used her tough family experiences to inspire her into achieving a thriving career.

“I have seen my family gain no qualifications and struggle with finding work and that’s always pushed me to do better with my own career,” said Chelsea, who undertook her training through Port Talbot-based WBTA, a partner of Cambrian Training Company.

“Completing my Level 2 has given me the confidence to go on to do Level 3 and I also completed a hair extension course.”

Despite her challenging home life, Chelsea didn’t miss a single training day on the way to becoming qualified and has embraced her full-time stylist position at Aspire Art of Hair by taking on a range of other tasks including social media, marketing and client liaison.

She has become a highly valued employee and now intends to develop more skills through undertaking new courses.

“Since joining the salon, Chelsea has thrived and excelled as an apprentice,” said Jessica Powell, salon owner. “Her ability to learn and adapt has shown she is not only a fantastic hairdresser but a key member of staff who has grown her clientele from strength to strength with her ever growing need to better herself.

“She is organised, professional and always keeps the salon up to date with all key trends. I would be very proud if she could win this award and receive the recognition she so rightly deserves.”

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Chelsea and all the other finalists.  “Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners and employers that have gone above and beyond.

“Their tenacity, passion and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”

For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: https://gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

Chelsea Fethney has overcome challenges to achieve her dream.