Apprentice Flying High at Hornbill - Latest News & Events from Pathways Training

Apprentice Flying High at Hornbill

A former apprentice from Seven Sisters has found the key to success, climbing the ranks from trainee to trainer at an engineering company in Neath.

Katy Huggins, 28, is being heralded as a success story for both Hornbill Engineering and NPTC Group of Colleges. After moving to Neath Port Talbot from west Wales in 2011, Katy took the decision to improve her education and employment simultaneously. With a young daughter to care for, she applied for an apprenticeship at Hornbill that was facilitated by Pathways Training, the work-based learning team at NPTC Group of Colleges. 

On completion of her apprenticeship, Katy progressed from Administration Assistant to Training Coordinator at the engineering site in Llandarcy, with responsibility for coordinating training for all 155 Hornbill employees spread across south Wales, north Wales and into England, dealing with all aspects of staff training from procurement to delivery and funding.

But Katy’s role does not stop there. For this highly valued member of the company’s administration team, variety truly is the spice of life. In addition to her training responsibilities, Katy is also the keystone of the company’s in-house marketing with responsibility for much of Hornbill’s graphic design work. In addition to this, Katy has also taken on responsibility for the development and delivery of in-house training to upskill the existing workforce transitioning to new IT systems.

Talking about her time as an apprentice, Katy said:

“It was a wonderful experience studying and working at the same time. I had the best of both worlds, enjoying the benefits of being a student, making great friends, while gaining valuable experience in the workplace.

“Hornbill is a great employer, and their support for me and other apprentices has been second to none.”

Hornbill is committed to investing in apprentices to ensure the best for their workforce. They have been in business for more than 25 years, and have been employing apprentices for the past 20 of those. The company takes on two apprentices each year, and their intention is always to keep those apprentices on. Katy was the company’s first business apprentice.

Jess Phillips, the Business Development Manager at Hornbill, said:

“There is something of a skills shortage in Wales, and investment in apprentices is essential to develop the skills necessary to move the industry forward. An apprenticeship gave Katy the opportunity to develop herself and gave us something positive. The great thing about working with NPTC Group of Colleges and Pathways Training is the flexibility it allowed us and Katy.

“We knew from the start that Katy had the drive and motivation that we wanted; she completed her apprenticeship a year ahead of schedule whilst also studying a GCSE in mathematics.”

In her time at Hornbill, Katy has also displayed a stunning commitment to her professional development by completing a Level 3 ILM qualification in Leadership and Management and embarking upon a BTEC in Education and Training with more training courses in the pipeline.

In summing up, Katy added:

“None of this would have been possible without the apprenticeship at NPTC Group of Colleges. It has been an amazing experience, and I am so proud of what I have been able to achieve. With everything Hornbill has done for me, there is truly nowhere I would rather be.”

Ian Jones, Head of Work Based Learning at NPTC Group, said:

“This is an excellent example of the benefits of the apprenticeship programme. We are delighted to see the progress Katy has made at Hornbill Engineering since completing her apprenticeship. It is obvious that Katy is a much valued member of staff and the responsibility she holds within the company reflects that. We would like to wish Katy the best of luck for the future.”


Picture caption: Katy Huggins, Training Coordinator at Hornbill Engineering

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