A star apprentice from South Tyneside visited the Prime Minister’s home at Downing Street as part of an event celebrating young workers.
Michelle Whale, from South Shields, was one of 10 apprentices invited to the exclusive event which was held as part of the 10th National Apprenticeship Week.
Michelle was named Apprentice of the Year for the North East in 2016.
The gathering commended the success of apprenticeships over the last decade, aiming to encourage even more people to choose apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great career.
The week of action celebrated apprenticeships, across all industries, and all levels, with the theme “ladder of opportunity”.
Michelle, 24, left school with very few qualifications and soon became a full-time mum when she gave birth to Millie, now four.
Uncertain about her prospects, Michelle’s foster mum discovered the opportunity for her to be an apprentice joiner at house builder Keepmoat and inspired her to apply.
Initially daunted by the scheme, in which Michelle was the only female out of 10 trainees, she soon succeeded in being one of the three trainees that the company hired as an apprentice.
Michelle said: : “I love my job and I regularly give talks in local schools about the benefits of being an apprentice.
“It was an amazing opportunity to be given the chance to go to 10 Downing street and have a tour around.
“It was definitely a once in a life time experience.
“I loved every minute of it and even got to have a little explore around London after.”