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    A Sheffield Hallam University student is celebrating being named a finalist in the National Apprenticeship of the Year awards.

    Melissa Loonam is a part-time mechanical engineering student and is one of three finalists in the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year category, following being named as the regional winner for the Midlands region in August.

    Melissa is now a full time Manufacturing Engineer after completing her higher apprenticeship at engineering giants Rolls-Royce and will find out if she has won the national award at the award ceremony on 20 January.

    Melissa, 21, who is originally from Derby, said: "I'm very proud to have been named as a finalist for the regional Apprenticeship of the Year awards. I really enjoy being a part of an organisation like Rolls-Royce. They do amazing work in mechanical engineering and it's an incredible experience for me to work with amazing engineers and learn from them.

    Melissa also enjoys regularly visiting schools as a Rolls-Royce STEM ambassador. She said: “Inspiring young people especially girls to pursue STEM subjects has become very important to me. The apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to meet young girls who are thinking about their futures.”

    The national awards, which includes awards for companies as well as individuals, highlights how employers can grow their own talent with apprenticeships and how apprentices make a significant contribution to the workplace. The national award winner is announced 20 January at the awards ceremony in London.

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