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Needle Rock

A former UK Government plant health inspector is now growing her own apprentices after turning her hobby of rescuing old furniture into an award-winning upholstery business.

Launched by Dr Ali J. Wright in Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth in 2013, Needle Rock has four employees and won the Federation of Small Businesses’ Microbusiness of the Year 2023 award. Ali’s ambition is to establish a Needle Rock Training Academy to deliver a new Level 3 Apprenticeship framework for Advanced Upholstery Skills.

Needle Rock’s first two apprentices have completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Performing Manufacturing Operations and have begun another Level 2 Apprenticeship in Business Improvement Techniques with Myrick Training. Apprentice Jason Vale was Foundation Apprentice of the Year at the Skills Academy Wales Awards 2023.