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Friday 1 July 2016 9:36 PM

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10:47 Tuesday 05 August 2014  Written by Michael Owens

Kimberley becomes first woman to scoop Microsoft Apprentice of the Year prize

An IT apprentice from Woodlands Park has become the first woman to win the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award.

Kimberley Bolton, received her award from Home Secretary, Theresa May and Microsoft UK Managing Director, Michel Van der Bel at a ceremony at the House of Commons on June 23.

The junior support consultant for Pythagoras Communications Ltd, which is based in the Grove Park Industrial Estate, beat competition from hundreds of nominees to claim the title.

"Becoming an IT apprentice is the best thing I’ve ever done," said the 19-year-old.

"I’ve really had to push myself, and now it’s all paid off."

The former Cox Green School student began her new career with training company Firebrand after quitting her job at a Chinese takeaway.

She decided not to pursue a course at university because of the time commitment and amount of debt she would be faced with after three or four years.

Instead, she pursued the opportunity to be paid to work while learning and gaining qualifications with Firebrand Training.

That led to a full-time position and further qualifications should help to advance her career even further.

Her goal is to move into consultancy within five years.

Her supervisor Richard Francis said: “We’re very happy for Kimberley, but it was all down to her.

"She joined Pythagoras with the right attitude and that is what has led to her winning this brilliant award”

Kimberley said her road has not always been easy and there were times she had a tough time deciding whether she could continue and pass the apprenticeship.

However, her perseverance secured her a fruitful future in the IT industry and brought personal, as well as career benefits.

It’s a challenge she would encourage others to take on.

"I have grown hugely in confidence, self-worth and life knowledge," she said.

"(Apprenticeships) are the perfect way to get into a full time role.

"You not only gain qualifications or a job but great personal skills which can be used in many environments."

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