A FORMER plumber student builds a career in estate management after a rapid rise through the ranks at Coleg Cambria.
Laura Hughes is just 23 years old and has been promoted to Estates Officer with responsibility for the university’s Deeside site, including the £14 million Sixth Form Centre.
After joining the department as an apprentice four years ago, she quickly became a technician and then supervisor, before taking on the new position this week (w/c 19/7).
Growing up in Rhes-y-Cae, Laura lived with her family on a small farm and always had a great interest in tools and machinery.
After leaving Holywell High School, she started a plumbing course at Cambria’s Bersham Road base in Wrexham.
The only girl in a class of over 20 boys – she took a bus and taxi every morning from Flintshire village to university – Laura completed the course but unfortunately could not find an employer.
After working in various hospitality roles, she successfully applied to join the Estates team and has never looked back.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the craft, but when I couldn’t find a company to hire me as an apprentice, I thought the opportunities to do that had passed me by,” she said.
“Being a woman in that industry is still pretty rare, so I don’t know if that played a part, but when I was hired for the Estates department at Coleg Cambria, I was able to do manual tasks and fix things again, which is what I love. do.
“I have always been ambitious and after receiving the University’s Apprentice of the Year Award less than 12 months after joining them, it gave me the spark to reach even further and really test myself.
“I love working with the team, they are all so supportive and boosted my confidence; the new job is great, and it’s a lot of responsibility, but I’m enjoying it and looking forward to what the future will bring.”
Meeting the challenges of the coronavirus has been unprecedented, but Laura – who will lead a team of five – says the safety of staff and students has been paramount during the pandemic.
Cambria’s Head of Estates, Graham Evans, echoed those words, congratulating her on making such rapid progress.
“Laura is an important member of the department and always looking to develop her skills and experience,” he said.
“During Covid we have worked hard to make the college as safe and secure as possible, while also opening new facilities and making plans for the future. She has been a part of that and as the college continues to develop its estate, her role will be pivotal – well done, Laura.”