Local Apprentice Wins YMCA’s Apprentice Of The Year Award

Business Administration Apprentice, 27-year-old Gabriella Biazotti from Poets Corner, has been recognised for her outstanding achievement at Snow-Camp – a charity which uses snow sports to turn around young inner-city lives.

Gabriella Biazotti profile

Such was her adaptability, enthusiasm and commitment to learning, she finished her one-year apprenticeship five weeks early! Her employer was so impressed, they offered the former hospitality worker a paid, full-time role as their Community Coordinator.

Gabriella was one of three young learners recognised at the annual national Central YMCA Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony at the House of Commons on Monday 4th March.

The event, which coincided with National Apprenticeship Week (4th – 8th March), was addressed by the Rt Hon Robert Halfon – Chair of the Education Select Committee and hosted in partnership with CognAssist – an organisation which supports learners with additional needs.    

gabriella receiving her commons award from robert halforn
Gabriella Biazotti accepting ‘YMCA’s Apprentice of the Year Award’ from Robert Halfon

In need of a new direction, Gabriella was keen to move out of hospitality and into business administration, but she lacked the experience to make the transition. Fortunately, the YMCA’s Business Administration Level 2 City and Guilds Apprenticeship, which she completed at Snow-Camp, bridged her skills gap. Gabriella reflects on her journey:

“I was looking for an office role, but hadn’t heard back from any of my applications. I saw the Snow-Camp apprenticeship on a job website and thought it sounded really interesting. This apprenticeship has created opportunities for me to learn key skills, grow and it’s given me more confidence in myself. There’s always a lot to do and that can be quite challenging, but we always get there by working as a team. I love my team and the diversity of my responsibilities. I’m passionate about Snow-Camp!

My apprenticeship has allowed me to earn a good salary and gain experience that I know will put me in good stead for the future. I have a whole new future that I couldn’t have imagined before. If I hadn’t done this apprenticeship, I’d probably be working in a bar. I’ve learnt that if you put in hard work and effort, it will pay off in the end. If you’re dedicated and hardworking, your employer will not want to let you go at the end of the apprenticeship.”

Gabriella’s role entails reception duties, ordering materials and kit, programme support, organising trips and accreditation, creating invoices, booking travel, updating spreadsheets, managing social media and supporting fundraisers. Having landed a permanent job, she’s also looking into buying her first home.

Lara Kinnear, Snow-Camp’s Operations Director, is delighted with Gabriella’s progress:

“Gabby has been on a fantastic journey in her Business Admin Apprentice role over the last 12 months. She is a fast learner and has continued to increase her knowledge and understanding, which has made her more confident in all areas of business admin. Gabby has full-on energy and enthusiasm for the charity, which has resulted in her being the first person anyone talks to when they ring our Head Office. We are all proud of Gabby’s achievements at Snow-Camp and how she has become a key member of the team.”

The ceremony was attended by approximately 60 people including MPs, policymakers and employers and learners from a range of sectors. Other winning categories were ‘YMCA Progression of the Year’, ‘YMCA Employer of the Year’ and ‘YMCA Pre-Apprentice of the Year (Study Programme).’ Last year, Central YMCA supported nearly 1,300 apprentices and over 700 Study Programme learners. 60% of these learners progressed into further education or employment. The Rt Hon Robert Halfon – Chair of the Education Select Committee and speaker at the event, has been hugely supportive:

“The YMCA is a very special organisation because they focus on helping disadvantaged people climb the ladder of opportunity. I am proud to support them. YMCA are to be congratulated for their recognition and support of their learners and employers. I wholeheartedly endorse the YMCA’s vision that everyone deserves to be supported to achieve their aspirations, whatever their starting point in life, and that high quality vocational training is a key route to achieving these goals. It’s vital that the barriers to young people taking up high quality apprenticeships are broken down and I welcome Central YMCA’s efforts in rising to these challenges and helping young people climb the ladder of opportunity”.

For more information about Central YMCA apprenticeships, please visit: https://www.ymca.co.uk/apprenticeships