Kleek Apprenticeships recognised for its outstanding contribution to vocational hair and beauty training at the VTCT Excellence Awards
Kleek Apprenticeships prides itself on being a trailblazer in the world of vocational hair and beauty training. Its outstanding efforts were recently recognised at the VTCT Excellence Awards 2023 at The Innovation Hub in Milton Keynes College, on July 13, where it was accredited with a number of awards. These included two highly competitive awards: Apprentice of the Year and Educator of the Year.
The Apprentice of the Year award recognises exceptional apprentices who have gone above and beyond, demonstrated outstanding performance and created new opportunities for themselves. The competition was tight, with all but one nomination in this category was a Kleek Apprentice.
The overall winner was announced as the inspiring Natasha Bloor, a Kleek Apprentice at Bliss Hair in Nottingham. Natasha has demonstrated the ability to break down all barriers to achieve her dreams. Despite being deaf and having a cochlear implant, Natasha refused to let this burden her journey and used her exceptional communication skills, including lip-reading, to build strong relationships with both colleagues and clients alike. Not only has Natasha also championed deaf awareness in her salon, becoming their BSL (British Sign Language) consultant and providing support both in person and over video calls, she has also returned to her former school to share her story and encourage others to follow in her footsteps.
“What a journey – training to be the best I can be. I am so grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve received from the team at Bliss Hairdressing and Leona Kear and the team at Kleek Apprenticeships,” says Natasha. I’m really excited to see what the future holds!”
The evening presented more good news for another Kleek apprentice, Maria Snow of KS Hair and Beauty in Eaglescliffe. Maria received a Highly Commended Apprentice of the Year award in recognition of her incredible path into the industry. Embarking on her apprenticeship as a mature learner, Maria defied expectations, proving that age is just a number when it comes to achieving career goals. Her story is a stellar example that with dedication and determination, you can forge a new path to career success, regardless of what stage you are in life.
Kleek Apprenticeships also triumphed in the Educator of the Year Award that was awarded to national training manager, Nicola Aviolet. A dedicated educator, Nicola was spotlighted for her unwavering support to apprentices facing challenging circumstances. When she discovered that one vulnerable apprentice was sleeping in her car due to a housing crisis, Nicola (armed with safeguarding skills) ensured the necessary things were put in place and available to help the apprentice get back on track.
“Winning this award fills me with immense pride,” says Nicola. “At Kleek Apprenticeships, we strive so hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for our apprentices. Being a part of their journey towards success in the hair and beauty industry is incredibly fulfilling for the entire Kleek team.”
The victories did not stop there! Kleek also received a Highly Commended Award recognition in the Large Training Provider of the Year category. Despite not taking home the trophy for the hotly contested award, it meant the impressive initiatives to support all the apprentices were still applauded.
“This recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing exceptional training and support to all our apprentices and employers,” says managing director, Tina Ockerby. “These accolades reinforce our belief in the power of apprenticeships and inspire us to continue nurturing aspiring hairdressers, beauty therapists and barbers, and transforming lives through our apprenticeship programmes.”
For more on apprenticeships, Creative HEAD’s recent On The Floor study dived deeper into the life as an apprentice in the current industry climate. For exclusive access to the full report, head to the Salon Smart HUB.