My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Hairdresser Phoebe overcomes dyslexia to star on world stage

Talented hairdresser Phoebe McLavy has overcome dyslexia to accomplish her dreams in competitions around the globe.

Phoebe, 20, who works for Morgan Edward salon in Carmarthen, was selected to represent the UK at the WorldSkills International competition in Kazan, Russia, in August, where she walked away with a bronze medal.

She also became Salon Cymru champion in 2018 and a silver medallist at the Global Skills Challenge in Australia earlier this year.

Now she has been shortlisted for the Foundation Apprentice of the Year Award at next month’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.

Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.

The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Phoebe has completed a Traineeship and Foundation Apprenticeship in Hair at Coleg Sir Gâr in Llanelli and has now progressed to an Apprenticeship.

After struggling with dyslexia at school, Phoebe opted for her childhood passion of hairdressing as a career and has worked at Morgan Edward since the age of 16.

“I feel so passionate about my job and the opportunities given to me,” she said. “I am able to celebrate and support the strengths that dyslexia can bring to life, as I come up with creative solutions to navigate around obstacles and want to inspire other people.”

Encouraged by her salon and training advisor Andrea Leggatt, she has gained valuable competition experience at national, UK and international levels. “I would never have dreamed of doing this, but my confidence has grown and, most importantly, my skill level in hairdressing has developed,” explained Phoebe.

She won a bronze medal at the 2018 WorldSkills UK competition in Birmingham which led to a UK squad place and intensive training, which she has fit in around her salon work and apprenticeship.

Claire Mackerras, Curriculum Head at Coleg Sir Gâr, described Phoebe as an outstanding apprentice with an impeccable work ethic. “Regardless of her dyslexia she has learned to overcome frustrating barriers, permitting her to accomplish her dreams and desires,” she said.

Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Phoebe and all the other shortlisted finalists.

“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.

“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”